Julius Randle withdrawing from Team USA affects New York Knicks rebrand

Julius Randle, USA Basketball Select Team, New York Knicks (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Julius Randle, USA Basketball Select Team, New York Knicks (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

Julius Randle recently turning down a chance to play for Team USA in the FIBA World Cup affects more than just him individually. As a premier face of the New York Knicks franchise, it hurts the team’s image rebranding plans.

The New York Knicks may not have hit the mega jackpot in free agency missing out on Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, but still scored a nice pickup with the signing of versatile forward Julius Randle. Randle brings an array of impressive offensive skills to the team at only 24-years old, making him a vital piece to the team’s future.

As a member of USA basketball’s ongoing program since 2013, Randle has previously served on the select team helping prepare the 2016 gold medal squad in Rio. The former University of Kentucky star joined a long list of NBA stars to withdraw from the team ahead of the 2019 FIBA World Cup tournament. Randle is dealing with a family issue according to Team USA in their press release as practices are underway at UNLV’s Mendenhall Center in Las Vegas.

The news is disappointing as Randle would’ve been viewed as a leader on the team considering all the big names dropping out earlier in the summer. The opportunity would’ve done wonders for his profile in the NBA and represented the Knicks admirably before next season.

The Knicks have been well represented in Team USA basketball over the years with various players winning gold medals in Olympic play. Former Knicks All-Star Carmelo Anthony is arguably the winningest USA basketball player in history with his numerous accolades in international competition.

Randle signed a three-year, $61 million deal with New York last month as their new marquee free agency acquisition. He will look to take advantage of the opportunity to be the established player amongst young talent like RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson, and Kevin Knox. An appearance on the world’s stage in international competition in a leadership role would bring high credibility to his potential All-Star status and the franchise’s reputation.

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The Knicks are looking for a spark heading into the new season as the team was left off of the Christmas Day nationally televised lineup this year. As many will view that as a good thing Knicks fans know that is an indication of the league’s opinion on the team.