Julius Randle motivated to win in New York, believes Knicks are 'not that far off'

May 2, 2023; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) reacts after a three point shot against the Miami Heat during the second quarter of game two of the 2023 NBA Eastern Conference semifinal playoffs at Madison Square Garden. After review the shot was changed to a two point basket.

At some point this offseason, Julius Randle will get back on the court and resume offseason workouts. One thing that may motivate him during those long, late summer days? The idea that the Knicks are close to contending in a wide-open NBA.

“From a team standpoint, I would have to say it just shows you how balanced the league is to where we realize, just keep getting better - we’re not that far off,” Randle said when asked to assess the Knicks season during an interview on Paul George’s Podcast P show. “And that’s motivating for me in a sense. In my mind, I’m like, ‘Alright how can I be the best version of myself to help the team win? So I go into the offseason, and you dissect that.

“We got a great mixture of talent, bro. We’ve got young dudes, we’ve got guys going in their prime. So we’ve got a great mixture of guys and it’s like, ‘How do we keep getting better?' So from a team standpoint, I think that’s where we at. As individuals, how can we get better? And then we (can) figure out what worked in the postseason, what didn’t; what worked versus Miami, what didn’t? What are the teams doing that won? I look at Denver and I’m like ‘Alright what are they doing as a team to help them have such great chemistry on the court to win? I look at it from standpoint.”

The Knicks finished the regular season with 47 wins and beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round of the playoffs. They lost to the Miami Heat in the second round. The Heat eventually reached the NBA Finals. There are many questions for Knicks management to answer this offseason. One of them is: do you bet on internal improvement of current players and keep the roster intact? Or do you execute a trade to bring a top player to New York?

Randle wasn’t asked on the podcast for an opinion on the Knicks’ offseason. But his answer suggests that he strongly believes in the group currently on the roster.

If you’re a Knick fan or you want to know more about Randle, the entire two-hour interview is worth your time.

Apr 23, 2023; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) looks to make a pass during game four of the 2023 NBA playoffs against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Madison Square Garden.
Apr 23, 2023; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) looks to make a pass during game four of the 2023 NBA playoffs against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Madison Square Garden. / Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Here are a few other highlights:


Randle is currently rehabbing following arthroscopic surgery on his left ankle. Randle sprained the ankle twice in a four-week span and missed just two playoff games due to the injury.

Here is how Randle, a two-time All-Star, would assess his season:

“From an individual, I’m all about efficiency, bro. For me, it’s efficiency. And I take examples; I’ll look at you (Paul George); I’ll look at a guy like, for instance Jimmy (Butler). Jimmy for me is a great example of somebody who continues to get better. How does Jimmy go from being a 46 percent shooter to a 53, 54 (percent shooter)? More efficient, less shots type of player?

“So I always try to look at how can I be more efficient? How can I be easier to play with? How can I help my teammates?”


George and his co-hosts asked Randle about playing in New York. Randle jokingly made a reference to his decision to give the Garden crowd a ‘thumbs down’ during the 2021-22 season.

“I would say first thing first, if you want a lesson, don’t do thumbs down to the crowd. I did that. That didn’t work out well for me (laughs),” the two-time All NBA player said. “That was my immaturity maybe. Don’t do that.”

Randle added that the pressure and scrutiny of playing in New York is challenging for his family but it also helped him learn a lot about himself.

“Honestly, I love it, bro, because it’s made me the player I am today. It pushes me. It all depends on how you look at it. It can be tough for some people. And it’s been tough for me. It’s been tough for me, it’s been tough for my family. It’s hard; the hardest thing for me is my family, right? You know, the Garden is a different animal. The hardest thing for me is my family and my son. Both of my sons but Ky (Kyden), in particular, because he’s older.

“That’s the toughest thing but I love it man because it’s made me who I am today. It done taught me so much more about myself and as a player, figuring out what really matter and what don’t; it done taught me a lot about who I am as a human. I done grown so much. I done grown a lot. But that s---t age you though, bro. It’s like almost like you the president, you know? The president, they go in there and you see them and they look great when they first (get in) and then four years later, they look old as hell (laughs). That’s how I feel right now (laughs).”

Randle also said there is a huge difference between negativity in the media and seeing fans in person.

“I think that’s honestly the craziest thing because if you look at it from a media perspective, you’d be like, ‘Damn it’s hard being there.’ But…I go on walks all the time, around the city. I’m out, whatever it is, and it’s so much love bro,” said Randle, who moved to New York City last season after living in the suburbs. “The actual fans, interaction, face-to-face, it’s crazy how much love it is, bro.

“We ain't won s--t, bro. We got to the second round, bro. They’re so appreciative, bro. The interaction, face to face, it’s love. You look elsewhere (in the media), you wouldn’t think it. But it’s cool.”

Randle also talks about Tom Thibodeau, his approach to the offseason, Jalen Brunson, Derrick Rose and more in the show.

Again, I highly recommend it if you want to learn more about Randle.

Here are a few notes from around the league as we get closer to the NBA Draft and free agency:


The Suns don’t have much trade capital left after acquiring Bradley Beal from the Wizards. So it’s fair to assume that they can’t make a trade for a top player like Kyrie Irving. But it’s worth noting that Phoenix had interest in Irving earlier in the offseason.

The Suns were among the teams to reach out to Dallas about a potential sign-and-trade for Irving earlier in the offseason, per sources familiar with the matter. Dallas, presumably, wasn’t interested in what the Suns offered at the time. If the Mavs were blown away by the offer, logic says that Beal wouldn't be a Sun today.

With Phoenix presumably off the table and the Lakers lacking requisite assets for a sign-and-trade, it seems more and more likely that Irving will re-sign with Dallas on a multi-year deal. NBA reporter Marc Stein noted that Houston could have interest in Irving. League sources confirmed that Irving is on Houston’s radar. As of earlier in the offseason, the club was operating with a goal of signing win-now players and compete in the 2023-24 season, a departure from the Rockets’ approach in the past three seasons. High-ranking members of the organization have preferred that approach. So Irving to Houston makes sense in that context.

One other note: opposing teams say the Mavericks have considered opportunities to trade out of the No. 10 pick to acquire a 3-&-D veteran and a pick later in the 2023 draft.

Speaking of the draft, several teams said UCF’s Taylor Hendricks and Marquette’s Olivier-Maxence Prosper have improved their draft stock in the pre-draft process. One team felt Hendricks could end up as the best shooter in the draft.