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Knicks’ Julius Randle will ‘most likely’ miss remainder of the season

Knicks forward Julius Randle drives to the basket against Charlotte Hornets forward P.J. Washington.
Knicks forward Julius Randle drives to the basket against Charlotte Hornets forward P.J. Washington.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Knicks forward Julius Randle will “most likely” miss the remainder of the NBA season with a quad injury, Head Coach Tom Thibodeau said on Saturday. 

“Most likely, he’ll be out the rest of the way,” the coach said. He’s had this nagging thing going on for a while.”

With 5 games remaining on the schedule, the team from Madison Square Garden has been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, as they sit 6 games behind the 10th-seeded Atlanta Hawks.

At a 34–43 record, the Knicks are also guaranteed to finish the season with a losing record, adding another blemish to the forgettable year — which came on the heels of a 41–31 record last season, when the team claimed a 4th seed in the playoffs. They ultimately lost in the first round to the Hawks in 5 games. 

This year, the team has regressed significantly — including Randle, who came to the team in the 2019 offseason on a 3-year, $63 million contract. 

Last year, the 27-year-old won the NBA’s Most Improved Player award, and was named to the All-NBA Second Team. Following that breakout performance, Randle signed a 4-year extension with the team, worth $117 million, but failed to produce the same stellar results though 77 games this year. 

This season, compared to last, Randle has seen noticeable declines in nearly every per-game statistical category — including points, rebounds, assists, field goal percentage, and minutes. 

The Knicks front office was rumored to be interested in trading the 6-foot 8-inch veteran at the deadline this year, and those rumors have persisted heading into the offseason. 

[READ ALSO: Julius Randle trade talks continue for Knicks]

Some potential trade targets include Sacramento Kings guard De’Aaron Fox, or Detroit Pistons power forward Jerami Grant. 

Moving on from Randle would allow the Knicks to get out of his pricey contract, while also freeing up minutes for younger players like 24-year-old Obi Toppin, who the team selected 8th overall in the 2020 NBA Draft, but who has averaged only 13.4 minutes-per-game, largely due to Randle’s presence in the starting lineup.

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