Knicks Rumors: Julius Randle, RJ Barrett, Josh Hart, Immanuel Quickley, Derrick Rose, more

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Knicks Rumors: Julius Randle, RJ Barrett, Josh Hart, Immanuel Quickley, Derrick Rose, more


Knicks Rumors: Julius Randle, RJ Barrett, Josh Hart, Immanuel Quickley, Derrick Rose, more

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HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto, SNY’s Ian Begley, and New York Daily News Knicks beat writer Stefan Bondy share new intel surrounding the futures of Julius Randle and RJ Barrett, Josh Hart’s free agency, a potential extension for Immanuel Quickley, Derrick Rose’s future, Tom Thibodeau, and more on the latest HoopsHype podcast episode.

For more interviews with players, coaches, and media members, be sure to like and subscribe to the HoopsHype podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and anywhere else you listen to podcasts. Listen to the podcast above or check out some snippets of the conversation in a transcribed version below.

2:15 Julius Randle’s future

Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Scotto: In two playoff trips with the Knicks, Julius Randle is shooting a combined 34.4 percent from the field overall and 28.3 percent from downtown. He battled some ankle injuries during the playoffs. It’s an interesting dynamic with him and Knicks fans. I look at him as a guy that’s a top-30 player as an All-Star two of the past three years, and his cap number looks better than people think as the CBA goes up.

In talking with Knicks brass in the front office, they value his toughness and his ability to stay on the court. He’s played 71 or more games in three consecutive seasons and been an All-Star two of the past three seasons, which is something I think is notable in the load management era.

Given the way the past two playoff stints have gone, I wanted to get your thoughts on whether Julius is a guy ultimately looking ahead who’s going to be a part of this core going forward, or do you look for the Knicks to consider dangling him in trade discussions over the summer? To me, I think it’s going to be tough for them to find the value the way they value him.

Bondy: I agree with you in a lot of respects. I think that they’re going to have trouble finding value for him the way that they value him. You bring up good points about his durability. This is a guy who averaged 25 (points) and 10 (rebounds), and he wants to play all the time. With that being said, there are clear issues with his attitude and the way that he handles criticism and how he’s looked at in the locker room, I think.

Those are fixable issues that he addressed in the last offseason, and it seemed like it was trending towards the right direction until later on in this season, when things got a little haywire, and he started doing things where he was yelling at his teammates during the game and taking it out on referees. It kind of spilled over into the playoffs. I realize the ankle issue was apparent. It was real, and it affected his game. I think his poor showing in the playoffs leaves you to question whether he’s the guy to lead you to the next step. That’s where the Knicks are. They’re ready for the next step. In terms of listening to trade offers, I’m sure they’re going to listen to whatever is told to them this offseason, but I don’t think there’s going to be a situation where they hear something and say that’s something we’ve got to pull the trigger on with Randle.

Begley: I’m with both of you guys on the chances of a trade happening. I think it’s only going to happen if he’s part of a package where you’re bringing in a top player that’s head and shoulders above Randle. In the big picture sense, we always talk about them eventually trading for a star and cashing in their chips for a top player. I think if you’re going to do that, you know that player is coming to play with Jalen Brunson, and — assuming that player needs the ball in his hands to take shots — I have trouble seeing how once you acquire that player, it’s going to work with Brunson, RJ Barrett, and Randle. I think it has to be one of Barrett or Randle that would not be here if and when they acquire a superstar. To do anything just to get him off the roster that’s not going to happen unless someone else takes over the team because they value Julius. There’s a personal connection with Julius, William Wesley, and Leon Rose. I don’t see them discarding him because of what happened in the postseason.

9:00 Karl-Anthony Towns and Joel Embiid trade speculation

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Scotto: When you look at what kind of stars they’d look to bring in if they were going to make a frontcourt move, because he’s a CAA guy, Karl-Anthony Towns gets linked to the Knicks. Tom Thibodeau coached Towns previously in Minnesota. For both of them, it’s a genuine question I have. I don’t know how much the two of them would want to reunite together. It’s just a question, not one way or the other. Stef (Bondy), you quote tweeted Keith Pompey’s tweet about James Harden potentially going to Houston and how Joel Embiid is a guy to keep an eye on for the Knicks.

Theoretically, if that happened, if I’m Joel, I think he’s always had an affinity for Jimmy Butler. If I’m Philly and Harden leaves, do you call Miami and ask for Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro, and other pieces there (for Embiid)? Daryl Morey always struck me as a guy that acquires stars. He doesn’t trade them unless he’s getting another star back.

I’m in the same boat as you guys on Randle, even with all the picks the Knicks have – and this gets overlooked – the picks the Knicks have from the other teams are good, but I don’t know if they have as much value. New York’s own picks now are declining in value because they’re ascending as a team. Brunson has made them a lot better as a team. Years ago, people wanted those Knicks picks. Now, they still have value, but they’re not as valuable because they took a step forward.

11:20 RJ Barrett’s future

Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

Scotto: During the playoffs, RJ Barrett worked with trainer Drew Hanlen to make some mechanical adjustments to his shot, which helped him shoot 47 percent from the field and 36 percent from downtown in his last nine playoff games, and he averaged 21 points.

Begley: We know the Knicks are going to at least listen on him if teams call based on last summer when some people in the front office were more than willing to include him in talks and flip him for Donovan Mitchell. Leon Rose decided at the end of the day not to do that.

Bondy: I think this is a question of which player does the other team value more if you’re going to make a trade. If you’re making an RJ Barrett trade, just like with Julius Randle, you’d be bringing back a star. Would that team rather have Randle or Barrett? You look at the regular season, and the answer would be Randle. If you look at the playoffs, the answer would be Barrett. They have similar salaries. Going back to the Karl-Anthony Towns stuff, that rumor has been out there for a long time. I had heard unequivocally that Tom Thibodeau would have no problem coaching Towns again. That was maybe two years ago, so things could’ve changed.

Begley: From what I’ve heard from a couple of people in touch with them, they felt the temperature was a little down on the interest in Towns compared to where it was very early on in the Leon Rose tenure. How do you get better if you’re the Knicks? Are you doing minor tweaks and hoping for internal improvement? Or are you making a big swing? I’d assume this is the summer to make the big swing.

17:50 The possibility of an Immanuel Quickley extension

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Scotto: The Knicks are going to have to make a decision on Immanuel Quickley if they’re going to extend him or put him as part of a bigger trade package. He’s certainly increased his trade value after being a finalist for the Sixth Man of the Year award. In talking with people around the league, this is what I’ve gathered as far as looking at his value. At worst, his floor would be four years, $80 million. Then, you’re getting into a conversation of, to make sense for Quickley, is it in the four-year, $100 range? When Quickley started 21 games, he played well. He averaged 22.6 points on 47 percent shooting from the field and 40 percent from three, 5.4 rebounds, and 5.1 assists. I get the sense Quickley enjoys his time in New York and wants to be there.

Begley: I think any team that calls on a significant trade is going to be asking about Quickley. I think it comes down to are they going to make that big move this summer or are they going to wait. If you’re doing that, you’re going to try and get Quickley back on a number you and him feel comfortable with. If you’re going to swing big, you have to be open to including him in that deal since he’s one of your top young players.

Bondy: The Knicks have to be careful here. They’re going to pay Josh Hart. That’s a given… Brunson’s on a big contract. Randle’s on a big contract. Barrett’s on a big contract. Hart and Quickley could be on big contracts, and that’s your squad. I get it, you can get incrementally better, and there are ways around that to improve.

22:55 Josh Hart’s free agency

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Scotto: I previously touched on it a little bit in one of my intel pieces on HoopsHype that executives I have spoken to think he gets somewhere in the $15-18 million annual salary. If I had to guesstimate where I think it’s ultimately going to go, I could see Hart getting a little bit higher towards the $18 million a year mark because of the way the cap is going up. Tom Thibodeau loves him. He’s a CAA guy. At the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago, the buzz from the Knicks, rival executives, and even rival agents was that Josh Hart was going to re-sign with the Knicks. I think four years, $72 million for him, would seemingly be ideal.

Bondy: That’s around the number I heard, four years, $70-75 million in that range. I think he did a tremendous job when he came to the Knicks, and he changed the season. Then, in that first-round series against Cleveland, he was tremendous. In the second round, there were moments where he was exposed because he can’t hit the three at the level you need somebody at that position to do. I think that number sounds right, and it’s good for what the Knicks need from him.

Begley: You guys covered it. I’d just say that Bobby Marks pointed out that if you give him $16-17 million, the Knicks have the option to remain under the tax threshold, which might be important to them long-term. Hart had my favorite quote of the season. He was asked five different ways over the first two weeks of him being here if he sees himself being here long-term. Every time he answered, it was a variation of yes. One time he said, “I hope I can touch Leon’s pockets.”

Bondy: It helps (Hart) that he and Brunson are best friends. Right now, Brunson is the franchise player. That certainly helps.

26:15 Tom Thibodeau

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Scotto: Every time after a Knicks game, whether it’s the playoffs or not, “Thibs” is a trending topic on Twitter, depending on how big the game is. I don’t see him going anywhere. He was in Chicago with Knicks brass for the NBA Draft Combine. I only bring this up because there are some Knicks fans out there that have had a lot to say about him on Twitter. I get a kick out of it, personally. I think he’s one of the better coaches they’ve had, given his track record over the past few years and since Mike Woodson.

Begley: Leon Rose had the green light to let him (Thibodeau) go in the middle of last year when they were struggling going into the All-Star break. I think he would’ve had the green light to let him go when they started 10-13 if they kept losing. Rose didn’t do that. He stuck by him. I can’t see a scenario short of James Dolan forcing the issue to Rose having to fire Thibodeau. It wouldn’t make any sense.

Bondy: Agreed. Thibodeau outcoached J.B. Bickerstaff, and it’s no shame to get outcoached by Erik Spoelstra, which is kind of what happened there. I understand there are Knicks fans who feel like Thibodeau isn’t the proper coach for player development. I’d disagree with that. I think he’s done a tremendous job with player development with this team. Everybody has gotten better. I know people want to point to Obi Toppin. He may be the one outlier, but look at Quentin Grimes and Immanuel Quickley as young players who he gave a significant chance to, and they’ve all exceeded expectations. Mitchell Robinson has gotten better as well.

29:00 Derrick Rose’s future

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Scotto: When I was in Chicago for the NBA Draft Combine, some executives were wondering how much gas he still has in the tank? He’s got a huge number looking ahead towards next season, a team option for $15.6 million. That’s a lot of money for a guy who was seldomly used. You’d imagine the Knicks would decline that option. In my opinion, I think the Chicago Bulls make a ton of sense for Derrick Rose in free agency. It would be a nice homecoming for him towards the end of his career. We saw when he was back in town how beloved he is still by that fan base. They’ll be missing Lonzo Ball, and if they’re trying to compete and win, he’s an excellent bridge as a veteran mentor to some of the young guys on that roster, and I think he still has some gas left in the tank.

Bondy: Obviously, they’re not going to pick up that team option, and he’s going to hit free agency… As far as the Bulls, I could totally see that.

Begley: I think some Milwaukee people had some interest in Rose during the season. I could see that being an option, too, if he wants to be close to home if that’s what he’s looking to do. I know that Knicks owner James Dolan respects Rose a lot. Maybe that means he comes back to the Knicks?

33:25 Evan Fournier

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Scotto: Evan Fournier told reporters he doesn’t think he’ll be back next year. A lot of executives around the league were a little surprised that he didn’t get a lot of playing time for the Knicks because he could shoot well and given his contract. When Fournier told reporters he didn’t think he’d be back, my immediate reaction was, “Oui, oui.”

MORE: Knicks offseason primer: Trade possibilities, Josh Hart free agency, more

You can follow Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto), Ian Begley (@IanBegley), and Stefan Bondy (@SBondyNYDN) on Twitter.

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