New York Knicks All-Star forward Julius Randle has agreed to a four-year, $117 million contract extension — elevating his deal’s total value to five years and $140 million, his agents, Aaron Mintz and Steven Heumann of CAA Sports, told ESPN.
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Ian Begley: League sources say part of Julius Randle’s thinking on signing his 4 year, $117M contract extension w/NYK is that he loves the organization/fans & wants to ‘commit his prime to the team.’ Sources add that Randle wants to commit now to give more NYK financial flexibility. ESPN 1st
Marc Berman: No surprise. There will be no free-agency watch for Julius Randle. Source confirms CAA and Leon Rose has locked Julius Randle up on 4-year extension. Insider says Randle preferred giving franchise full flexibility next summer and not muddy things.
Mike Vorkunov: Very good deal for both sides. Knicks lock in Randle long-term and now they have their cap sheet accounted for through summer of 2023. Randle might have been able to get more money next summer but injury + regression are risks. Instead, he still gets a lot of money and no worries
The Knicks still hope to extend Randle’s contract in August if he’s willing. They can offer him a four-year extension, but not at max money, under collective bargaining agreement rules. The Knicks can offer at most a 20 percent bump from his $19.8 million salary in the final season of his current deal. That means it can start at $23.8 million in 2022-23.
“I don’t believe Julius is a max guy,” an NBA executive told HoopsHype. “He’s a good player, but definitely not a max guy in my opinion. I don’t think his season was a fluke. I think Thibs and Kenny Payne are great for him, I just don’t think he is a max player.”
“I’d probably wait (to extend him),” a third NBA executive told HoopsHype. “If he has another great year, great. I don’t see another team offering much more as a free agent.” “I doubt they would offer him the max cause they would be bidding against themselves,” a fourth NBA executive told HoopsHype.
With that in mind, HoopsHype polled eight executives and five scouts for their thoughts on whether Randle’s career year was a fluke and whether or not they would offer him that max extension this summer if they were the Knicks. Of those polled, four said they’d offer the max extension, two were unsure, and seven said they’d wait until next summer to make a long-term financial commitment to Randle.
It’s worth pointing out that the fact that we’re even discussing Randle as a potential max player is remarkable. As recently as last off-season, Knicks executives had internal discussions about the salary cap implications of waiving Randle this summer before his full $20.7 million kicked in, according to league sources. Thibodeau also made clear to colleagues after being hired that he, too, did not believe Randle would be part of any long-term success.
According to ProFitX, Randle outperformed his contract in 2020-21 by $13 million, and he is on pace to earn close to a max contract when he is a free agent in 2022. Because Randle does not meet the renegotiation requirements (third anniversary of a four-year contract) to bump up his salary in 2021-22, the only financial option that New York has is to offer Randle a four-year, $106 million extension.
Despite an underwhelming performance in the playoffs, it is likely that Randle turns down that extension, not because he does not want to play in New York but because the $23.7 million starting salary is $11 million less than what he could earn with New York or perhaps another team in 2022.
Bill Oram: Julius Randle walked into arena wearing a sweatshirt that said “PAY ME” on the back. Asked him about it and he seemed unaware of that fact and said he bought it last year. When I said some may interpret it as some kind of statement, he said, “You can interpret it how you want.”
While the Lakers have had conversations with Randle and his representatives about an extension, the team has made it very clear that it plans to do everything it can to maintain its cap space to go after a couple of stars in free agency next summer. That means Randle will likely have to wait before getting the extension he wants.
“If it is right for both sides, we’ll see,” Randle said of trying to get a contract extension done early. “All I can really focus on is playing basketball. I can’t really focus on the contract situation. At the end of the day, I am letting my agent handle all of that,” Randle added. “We have great communication and we are on the same page and he is in communication with the front office about that. Because if I think about that day in and day out, I will drive myself crazy.”
Julius Randle, Los Angeles Lakers: Talks have just begun in earnest, but the Lakers have, as we all seem to know, plans for next summer, when they hope to sign two max free agents. Tying up any money for anyone else, including Randle, seems unlikely until Los Angeles makes its moves in 2018.
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