Home Knicks East Notes: Knicks, Julius Randle, Nets, Wizards, Deni Avdija

East Notes: Knicks, Julius Randle, Nets, Wizards, Deni Avdija


Power forward Julius Randle is making progress from his injured shoulder, though his status for the season still seems up in the air, per Ian Begley of SNY.tv.Julius Randle, New York Knicks, NBA

“I’ve heard during this period that there’s been some positive progression here during the rehab and I think that’s left people with even more reason to be optimistic that Randle will be back at some point this season,” Begley said on The Putback. “I don’t know if they’re out of the woods yet, but certainly the progress that he has made over the last couple of weeks during this rehab stretch has left people excited about the possibility of him coming back.”

Randle is expected to undergo several more weeks of rehab before a decision is reached on whether he may be able to return — or will have to undergo season-ending surgery.

  • Coach Tom Thibodeau said that Randle has been “meeting the milestones” toward a return. “We’re already processing what the next things are,” Thibodeau said, via Begley. “…And the thing that’s unfortunate — he was playing at such a high level when he took on the injury.”
  • The Knicks have lost five of six entering the All-Star break, and that follows a 15-2 stretch. Injuries have undoubtedly played a role in the recent decline. “I think we’ve had a great two-thirds of the season. We’ve put ourselves in a position where we’ve done well, but we have a lot of room for improvement,” All-Star guard Jalen Brunson said, via Peter Botte of the New York Post.
  • The Knicks reportedly have expressed interest in free agent center Nerlens Noel. That said, he has no shortage of suitors and could be signed by the time the league starts back up after the break.


Coach Jacque Vaughn and the Nets have some serious issues to address after the break, wrote Brian Lewis of the New York Post. Brooklyn lost to the Celtics by 50 points in the final game before All-Star Weekend.

“Yeah, you’ve got to learn and fix the issue; that’s pretty much what it is. You can’t just let this one go and think ‘Oh, let it drop.’ No,’’ forward Mikal Bridges said. “Yeah, maybe if you lost towards the end, but you got beat by 50. It’s not just, ‘Let it go.’ A lot of s— is not right, and you’ve got to fix it.”

  • Vaughn indicated he doesn’t believe the players have tuned him out. “I think it’s far from that,” he said when asked by Lewis. “We’ve got [Cameron Johnson], has never played with Dennis Schroder, and it goes down the line. [Day’Ron Sharpe] just being back. … Now there’s got to be a level of commitment we have to get things sped up because these guys haven’t played together.’”
  • Brooklyn is hoping to re-sign center Nic Claxton this summer, as our Ashish Mathur relayed here.


Forward Deni Avdija admitted that he was “a little emotional” after scoring a career-high 43 points (with 14 rebounds) in the Wizards’ loss to the Pelicans.

“I never thought that coming to the league, seeing all those numbers, those big players score those points, [I’d be] able to be that hot,’ he said, via Ava Wallace of the Washington Post. “All the hard work, the times that I was down or I didn’t have good games — I was down on myself a lot of times, and I stuck with it. I kept working hard, I kept being patient, and I went through a lot. And for me, it’s only the start. I feel like I’m still getting better … but honestly, hard work and patience do pay off.”

Avdija added that working on defense can pay dividends at the other end.

“A lot of my offense comes from me competing on defense and making stops and getting the rebounds,” he said. “That’s how I get in the game, that’s my bread and butter. It’s always going to be there, regardless of the offense, and I feel like that’s what gets me going in a lot of games, getting to the defense, knowing the personnel, being there for my teammates, and making big plays for the team to be able to compete.”

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