When the New York Knicks originally signed power forward Julius Randle to a three-year, $62 million deal, they saw them as an integral part of their reconstruction.
The organization was undergoing changes, but it wasnâ€™t until this past off-season where the Knicks finally established a foundation for the future and put together a coaching staff capable of creating a winning team.
Randle has been an absolute menace this season, earning his first All-Star appearance at 26 years old. Over 37 games, heâ€™s averaging 23.2 points, 5.5 assists, and 11.1 rebounds per contest, all three categories being career highs.
However, he has only one year left on his contract, and the Knicks seem to be enamored by his recent play. Head coach Tom Thibodeau has already advocated for the veteran, so extending him might be in their best interest.
The New York Knicks have needed Randle’s peak presence on the court:
“The numbers speak for themselves,” Thibodeau said. “…I think when you look at the impact on winning, that’s where he’s separated himself. To be doing what he’s doing for this team, we wouldn’t be where we are. He’s our engine. So I hope that’s recognized, he’s very deserving of it.”
If the Knicks do consider rewriting his contract, Randle has already stated he wants to stick around long term.
“Yeah, itâ€™s always a thought,” Randle said. “When I came here almost two years ago, that was the plan. I wanted to be here long term. I want to be a Knick. So my thoughts never changed. I would definitely love to be here long term.
If New York does extend him, they might be able to reduce his cap hit for next season, which is about $21 million. In that case, they can likely open up a bit more money to work with, allowing them to pursue a star in free agency or acquire one viaÂ trade. It has yet to be seen if the Knicks will, in fact, execute a trade before the March 25 deadline â€” they have the capital to do so.
“Like I said, weâ€™ll see when we get to that time,” Randle said. “But right now, like I said, Iâ€™m really just focused on what we have to do as a team. Thatâ€™s so far ahead in the future. When that time presents itself, Iâ€™ll be ready. Weâ€™ll talk or whatever, but Iâ€™m really just focused on this team, first off getting a win tonight going into the All-Star break, getting my body right so Iâ€™m healthy, staying on top of what I have to, starting off the second half of the season strong. Thatâ€™s where my focus is right now.”
Randle is gearing up to perform in the All-Star game, his first appearance since his inception into the NBA in 2014. Having spent time on three different teams, the lefty shooter has found a home in New York and is established himself as their star player.