Julius Randle of the Knicks still not on his divorce from the Lakers


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Former Lakers lottery pick Julius Randle hasn’t forgotten his roots – nor the end.

As the Lakers face the resurgent Knicks on Monday at the Garden, seeing the purple and gold always does something to Randle, who has worn the colors for four seasons.

When asked after the Knicks’ Sunday night win over the Raptors if he was still very special facing the Lakers, Randle said: “Always.”

In the era of the Knicks Zoom Talks pandemic, reporters are not allowed to ask follow-up questions and the session ended before he could explain.

But the message has been sent. Randle, the left-handed Knicks wrecking ball, still doesn’t know how he ended up with the Lakers after his four-year rookie contract expired.

In January 2020, when Randle faced the Lakers in Los Angeles, he admitted to having strange feelings about leaving the team as a free agent to sign with New Orleans in July 2018 when LeBron James was come on board.

“It wasn’t the right situation,” Randle said 15 months ago. “Would I have liked it to work differently?” I do not enter into the hypotheses. It worked as it was supposed to. I am happy where I am now. Everything in life happens for a reason. The ups and downs of life happen for a reason. It made me who I am today and I’m extremely happy to be a Knick. “

Julius Randle
Julius Randle des Knicks dunks la balle.

He’s even more ecstatic now that he’s become an All-Star for the first time, carried the Knicks on his back in the playoff race as the garden fills with ‘MV-P’ chants when he’s at. the free throw line.

Randle is a triple-double threat every night – already with five on the season. He averages 22.8 points, 10.7 rebounds and 6.0 assists – the latter doubling last season’s mark.

In fact, as a preeminent point forward, Randle is a poor man’s left-hander now – except a little healthier. Randle has played 53 of 54 games. James has reached 41 games due to severe hamstring strain.

There were reports that the Lakers didn’t want to give Randle a long-term deal after James came on board because they wanted to save ceiling space the following summer for Anthony Davis, also a client. by Rich Paul.

It worked when the Lakers used the cap space to facilitate a trade for Davis ahead of last season and the Lakers won the 2020 NBA Championship in the Orlando bubble.

James and Davis did not dress at the Garden on Monday. Both have been injured for extended periods and may be over a week away from returning to defend their title.

A recent report from SB Nation suggested Randle didn’t want to play with James anyway, which he told the Lakers to let him become an unrestricted free agent once King James signed.

Maybe that was what he meant when he spoke to New York writers in Los Angeles in January 2020 before the Knicks faced the Lakers.

“Am I surprised I’m not back here?” It’s a business, my brother. I’m not surprised by anything, ”Randle said. “If the situation was good, I would have been. It was not the right situation. “

When asked to explain, Randle said, “You have to ask [general manager] Rob Pelinka. This situation is a thing of the past. I don’t want to go into the details of why and why not. I had a great experience in New Orleans and now I am here. And it’s a great experience here. It’s finish. “

Randle spent four seasons with the Lakers, was there for Kobe Bryant’s last campaign. He was devastated – like many – by her death.

Bryant was a big influence and it must be also gloomy for Randle that his mentor isn’t alive to finally see him emerge as a star.

Randle happily recalled Bryant’s last game recently when he scored 60 points on 50 shooting attempts. Tuesday is the fifth anniversary of this competition.

“He didn’t need to say it, he was talked about among us as players that he got every shot and we passed the ball to him every time,” Randle said on JJ Redick’s podcast in February. “It all started suddenly. You watched the game – the first 15 shots, he made two. We were worried. But he flipped the switch, bro, and that was one of the few times this season I saw the real Black Mamba ride. The guy was going crazy. “

As Bryant approached Randle to get him back on the field, the current Knicks star said he was going to take the shot. Bryant replied, “What, do you want the arena to boo you?” ”

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