Feb. 10 has the potential to be a humongous day for the New York Knicks. That’s because soon, Julius Randle could go from franchise centerpiece to Big Apple castoff.
Randle’s third season in New York has been an abject failure. Instead of building off of last year’s All-Star campaign, the 27-year-old has nosedived in almost every statistical category. The same can be said for the Knicks who, entering the weekend, are a pathetic 24-28.
It’s hard to believe things can get worse for Randle and the Knicks. But that was until the big man committed one of the great social media crimes of today’s day and age, signaling to the world that he’s as fed up with the franchise as it is with him.
Julius Randle has regressed in more ways than one
A year ago, Randle was the talk of the town. The 2014 first-round pick became the focal point of a Knicks squad that finished with the fourth seed in a tough Eastern Conference. After the season, New York rewarded its star with a hearty four-year contract worth $117 million.
If only the Knicks knew what was to come.
Following his breakthrough campaign, Randle has been a skyscraper-sized disappointment. Through 50 games, the eight-year veteran is averaging 18.5 points on 41.4% shooting. That’s his lowest point total since 2017-18 and his lowest field-goal percentage period. He’s also hitting just 30.3% of his threes, a steep dropoff from his 41.1 three-point percentage in 2020-21.
Along with his descension into offensive mediocrity, Randle has also had trouble keeping his cool. The star infamously gave fans at Madison Square Garden a thumbs-down gesture after making a layup on Jan. 6. When asked after the game what the gesture meant, the forward bluntly said, “Shut the f*** up.”
Randle’s social media activity indicates he’s done with the Knicks
It’s important to mention on the front end that any player’s social media activity should be taken with a sizable grain of salt. That said, the internet couldn’t help but notice Randle expressing his displeasure with the franchise by hitting a single button — “Unfollow“.
On Wednesday, the disgruntled forward unfollowed the New York Knicks’ official account on Instagram. Additionally, he also removed all mentions of the Knicks in the bio of his official Twitter account.
What makes this extra fascinating is when Randle committed social media treason. The 27-year-old’s official trade restrictions were lifted on Feb. 3, allowing New York to move him mere months after signing him to a long-term extension.
Coincidence? It’s certainly possible. Though despite prior quotes from Randle saying he wants to remain a Knick, his online actions say otherwise.
The Sacramento Kings have emerged as a home for Randle
Two days after unfollowing the Knicks, Randle might soon have a new team to follow. According to Brian Windhorst on The Hoop Collective podcast, the Knicks are interested in Sacramento Kings guard De’Aaron Fox.
“This has been reported elsewhere, but I’ve heard as well that the Knicks have shown some interest in De’Aaron Fox,” Windhorst said. “The player that makes the most sense in that swap is Julius Randle.”
A Randle-for-Fox swap would involve two supremely-talented players receiving much-needed changes of scenery. For what it’s worth, Fox is also not following the Kings on Instagram.
While there is enough smoke around the fire to believe the Knicks are seriously considering a Randle deal, the former All-Star isn’t concerned with rumors.
“Who reported it?” Randle asked a crowd of reporters on Friday. “Sounds like gossip to me.”
Randle’s fall from grace has been staggering. His status as a Knick will be one to follow over the next few pivotal days.