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The Knicks have a problem because “Randle is not a born leader”

Julius-Randle

Signing a $117 million contract extension brings a set of responsibilities with the max player status. For Julius Randle, the max deal involves improving his production across the board and leading his team to the playoffs. However, as the New York Knicks are slowly fading this season, it’s evident Randle must also change his locker room behavior. Mark Berman says “Randle is not a born leader.” Can he become one?

Julius Randle needs to lead the locker room

It turns out Randle is not the vocal leader the Knicks front office expected him to be. Being the main star of New York means bringing that leadership in the locker room. His behavior is similar to that of Derrick Rose - both quiet and reserved most of the time. If New York wants to turn things around, the change must start with Julius. But, as Marc Berman of The New York Post reported, one NBA source claimed there’s no leader in the locker room, and this is where the power forward must assert his presence.

“When you look at the team, there really isn’t an outspoken leader. You look at every team in the NBA, they have an outspoken leader. Is there an outspoken leader or is everyone being too respectful to each other and not wanting to voice their opinion?’’

NBA Source, via Mark Berman, The New York Post

The team needs a Patrick Beverley type of loud leader, someone who can rally and lift the spirit of the locker room. New York has underperformed, sitting at the 12th spot in the Eastern Conference. They made the playoffs last year, and if they don’t improve soon, they can kiss playoff dreams goodbye. 

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Who should the Knicks pursue?

On December 15, free agents and draft picks such as Kemba Walker, Evan Fournier, Quentin Grimes, Miles McBride, and Jericho Sims will be allowed to entertain talks with other teams. For Knicks, there are a bunch of veterans in the free agent market who could provide the vocal leadership the team desperately needs.

Per Hoops Hype, here are some of the veterans and energy players the Knicks could swap with their own, but it remains to be seen if their current teams will entertain trade offers. 

  • Lou Williams
  • LaMarcus Aldridge
  • Dennis Schroeder
  • Kelly Oubre 
  • Lauri Markannen
  • Will Barton
  • Jeff Green
  • Andre Iguodala
  • Rajon Rondo
  • Markieff Morris
  • George Hill
  • Danny Green
  • Elfrid Payton

A few of these guys, like Igoudala, are not leaving their current organization. But for the rest, it depends on what the Knicks are willing to offer. How much the Knickerbockers will put on the table will tell us how bad they think the leadership vacuum is and how serious they are about winning this year. Will they put future assets on the table so they could improve this year?

We’ll find out in a couple of days.

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