Stephen A. Smith Blasts Julius Randle, Asks Knicks to Trade for $176 Million Superstar

Leon Rose, New York Knicks

Getty Executive Vice President and Senior Basketball Advisor William Wesley and President Leon Rose of the New York Knicks look on during the first half against the Chicago Bulls.

Friday night, the New York Knicks saw their 2022-23 campaign come to a close as they fell 96-92 in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Miami Heat. Now, the organization will look to build off their promising run and make proper adjustments and tweaks during this coming offseason to better position themselves for a brighter future.

When it comes to ways in which this front office should approach their summer agenda, there are varying opinions shared among fans, media pundits, and league affiliates alike.

However, in a recorded rant posted to his personal Twitter page, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith noted that, in his eyes, the Knicks must look to part ways with Julius Randle and pursue a trade for Portland Trail Blazers superstar, Damian Lillard.

“Season’s over. I guess in the end I always knew the New York Knicks would lose,” Stephen A. Smith said. “Jalen Brunson was spectacular [in Game 6]. 41 points. But he was the only one who showed up… Julius Randle [went] 3-for-14. Once again playoffs arrive and once again you fold. [I’m] done! It’s time to trade Julius Randle. It’s time for him to go. I want Damian Lillard. I don’t care what you gotta do to get him. I want Damian Lillard.”

As is seemingly the case every offseason, the Knicks will almost certainly be linked to several stars rumored to be interested in a move this summer and Stephen A. Smith seems to believe that the $176 million Blazers centerpiece should be an option for the franchise.

Luckily for him, there already seems to be some intriguing noise in this particular department.

Knicks ‘Most Interesting Place’ for Damian Lillard

In a recent sit down with an anonymous Eastern Conference GM, Heavy on Sports’ Sean Deveney was told that should Damian Lillard be traded this offseason, the Knicks are considered to be “the most interesting” landing spot for his services.

“They have expressed interest in Lillard before but nothing ever came of it. Now, you have the big contract for R.J. Barrett you can deal. You can fill things out with Evan Fournier’s deal,” the east GM told Deveney. “They would not include (Immanuel) Quickley, they are tightening up on trading him. If they are going to deal him it is going to be in a separate kind of thing, where he is the main piece. They think he has too much value now. But with the picks they have, there are ways to make it work.”

After officially entering the offseason following Portland’s failure to qualify for the 2023 postseason, Damian Lillard told reporters that he’s not interested in seeing the Blazers embark on a rebuild.

Considering he’ll be 33 coming into his 12 season in the association in 2023-24, his experience coupled with his win-now averages of 32.2 points, 7.3 assists, and 4.8 rebounds from this past year is reason enough to understand his unwillingness to take part in such an endeavor.

Should he be shopped this summer, it seems that the Knicks should be a team to monitor closely regarding a possible pursuit.

Jalen Brunson Issues Statement on Game 6 Turnover

In his first season as a member of the New York Knicks, Jalen Brunson proved to be a relative steal of a commodity when considering his price tag of four years, $104 million. However, despite his stellar production throughout the season, he seems to believe that he’s a major reason for their ultimate demise.

In the dwindling seconds of Friday’s Game 6, the point guard committed a gut-punch of a turnover that, ultimately, sealed his club’s fate and, in the end, led to New York’s elimination from the postseason.

When asked about the costly possession, Brunson deemed it as being “unacceptable.”

“I like the way we fought this past couple of games. Down two with the ball [in my hands], I gotta give us a chance to even get a shot attempt, and that turnover is just unacceptable,” Brunson said. “So yeah, it’s tough.”

Despite his unfortunate blunder late in the contest, Jalen Brunson was the driving force for the Knicks in their Game 6 bout against Miami. Logging 45 minutes on the night, the 26-year-old posted a sensational stat line of 41 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists while shooting 63.6% from the field and 50.0% from deep.

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