Knicks’ Julius Randle denies rumored trade request: ‘It’s just not true, bro, it’s just not true’


Julius Randle’s season has been a total disappointment after all the hope and optimism surrounding his Most Improved Player campaign a year ago. His numbers are down across the board, and after winning the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference, the Knicks have fallen out of the top 10 this season. Randle looked like the New York franchise player before the season. Now the team and the city are wondering what his future is even with the franchise.

Those questions have come to a head in recent days with unsubstantiated reports claiming Randle requested a trade after Monday’s game against the Chicago Bulls. Randle himself has now officially denied those claims, saying SNY’s Ian Begley “It’s just not true bro, it’s just not true. It’s as simple as that.”

Randle couldn’t have been traded for most of the season. He signed a four-year extension in the offseason that imposed a six-month trade restriction. That restriction was lifted Feb. 3, a week before the deadline, and the Knicks obviously didn’t move it the seven days they were supposed to. Whether or not they thought of it remains unknown.

Marc Berman of the New York Post reported Tuesday that there are NBA sources who believe the Knicks will try to trade Randle this offseason for a center if Mitchell Robinson leaves in free agency. Randle’s longtime confidant Kenny Payne, who coached him at the University of Kentucky and again with the Knicks, recently left the team to become Louisville’s head coach.

But trading Randle on that four-year extension likely won’t be easy. He’s still putting up numbers — 20 points, 10 rebounds and five assists a night — but on relatively ineffective numbers and with inconsistent defensive efforts. His body language was also set aside. He was fined this season for refusing to speak to the media, leading many to question his leadership. These concerns would likely cause some hesitation on the part of interested parties. Randle owes over $100 million on his new contract.

But there are no untradeable contracts in the NBA, and the overwhelming majority of players who want trades don’t make their desires public. If these two teams want to part ways in the offseason, there will be a way for them to do so. For now, though, there’s still room to believe Randle and the Knicks can turn things around next season.

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