The New York Knicks were eliminated in round two of the NBA Playoffs by the surging Miami Heat and now questions have begun to arise regarding what the club’s next steps are to try and build off their impressive 2022-23 campaign.
Considering the inefficient way in which Julius Randle performed during the team’s postseason run, coupled with his lackluster production during their last appearance back in 2021, there are those such as ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith who wish to see the big man move on from the franchise this summer.
Whether such a move will actually happen is truly anyone’s guess at this point in time. However, in the event that the big man himself wishes to part ways with the organization, eight-time All-Star and current Taoyuan Leopards center Dwight Howard is already on a recruitment spree, calling Randle, along with other eliminated NBA stars to join him in the Taiwanese men’s professional basketball league, T1 League.
“Jordan Poole, come on. Julius Randle, come on… Ben Simmons, come on man. Ain’t nobody beating us,” Dwight Howard said.
The likelihood of Julius Randle and almost every other player mentioned in the video above leaving the NBA to join the Taiwanese-based Leopards is as close to 0% as it can get, however, regardless of this Dwight Howard still is opting to shoot his shot.
Despite his shortcomings under the bright lights of the postseason, the 28-year-old had himself arguably the best season of his professional career this past year, as he posted impressive per-game averages of 25.1 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 4.1 assists on 45.9% shooting from the field while notching both his second All-Star and All-NBA nods along the way.
Jalen Brunson Excited For Future of Knicks
Unlike Julius Randle, Jalen Brunson‘s regular season excellence seemed to translate flawlessly into New York’s playoff run, as he paced the team in points (27.8), assists (5.6), steals (1.5), and box plus-minus rating (+7.7), the latter of which he ranked fifth in the entire association during this span.
Now, with his inaugural campaign over, he’s expressed his excitement for what the future has in store for this Knicks team.
“New York has been amazing and the fans have been amazing. It’s been a really great experience for myself and my family. I’m already excited about next year. It’s going to be fun. We have a lot to prove to each other as teammates,” Jalen Brunson said during his Game 6 post-game media session. “This was a great year for us… Obviously, we didn’t end the season the way we wanted to but [we have to] keep working on our game, keep gaining confidence, as [players] and as teammates and as we move forward we just gotta keep sticking together like we did this year.”
After agreeing to a four-year, $104 million deal in free agency last summer, Jalen Brunson seemingly went on to prove himself worthy of every penny spent by the Knicks and finished the year off with averages of 24.0 points, 6.2 assists, and 3.5 rebounds while shooting 49.1% from the field and 41.5% from deep.
Exec Dishes on Tom Thibodeau’s Job Security With Knicks
Even with their fifth-seed finish in the Eastern Conference standings and winning their first playoff series in a decade, throughout the year questions pertaining to Tom Thibodeau‘s job security with the Knicks have constantly popped up.
Just recently, Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd went as far as to draw the comparison between New York’s headman and former Philadelphia 76ers coach Doc Rivers, who was relieved of his duties with the organization Tuesday afternoon, noting that both are best at establishing a team’s “culture” and suggested that Thibodeau could succumb to a similar fate.
However, during a recent sit-down with Heavy on Sports’ NBA insider Sean Deveney, an Eastern Conference GM provided some insight into what the future for the seasoned head coach actually seems to look like.
“Thibs has been up and down in the eyes of some but for Leon Rose and the people in that front office that matter, he’s been safe all along. They played well down the stretch and in the playoffs and no matter what happens, it is a safe bet he will be back next year. He has his system in place and if they get another star player to drop into that system, they’ll be a tough team,” the executive told Deveney.
Since agreeing to serve as the head coach of the Knicks back in 2020, Tom Thibodeau has accumulated a record of 125-111 and helped guide the franchise to two postseason appearances, all while winning the NBA Coach of the Year award back in 2021 and finishing eighth in the running for the award this season.