NBA Rumor: Julius Randle Free Agency

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Julius Randle: 'I want to retire as a New York Knick'

With the best season of his career winding down — until the playoffs begin again next week — Julius Randle has declared his commitment to wanting to remain with the Knicks franchise for the rest of his career. “I love playing in New York. I want to retire as a New York Knick,” Randle said on The Victory podcast when talking about his hopes of signing a new long-term deal with the team either this summer or after he becomes a free agent in 2022.

The Knicks could try to extend Randle later this summer after picking up his $20 million team option, but may have to wait until 2022 if the sides need more time to agree on a deal. Randle is having by far the best season of his career, averaging 24.0 points, 10.2 rebounds and 5.9 rebounds per game, and helping lead this Knicks team to a shocking playoff berth that nobody saw coming. He is the heavy favorite to win the NBA’s Most Improved Player award, he’ll likely land on one of the three All-NBA teams and may even get some high MVP votes.

Knicks, Julius Randle to discuss extension in offseason

The Knicks can add up to four years to Randle’s contract, and both sides intend to talk over the summer to see if they can come to an agreement, sources said. But salary-cap rules limit the raise in Randle’s salary to a max of 20%. It would begin with New York fully guaranteeing Randle’s contract for next season. Currently, just $4 million of Randle’s $19.8 million deal for next year is guaranteed, a reminder of the Knicks’ hedge when signing him back in 2019. After that, the Knicks could add up to $106 million in guaranteed money. Including incentives, that could leave Randle with five years and nearly $140 million.

If Randle produces at an All-Star level again next season, the difference between an extension in 2021 and a max contract he could demand in 2022 could approach $100 million. That’s a lot of numbers and projections. It doesn’t take into account the scenario of Randle opting for a short extension, locking in stability now while giving the Knicks some maneuverability to continue star hunting if his salary is locked in for 2022 and beyond. This might be the most likely scenario come August. What it might come down to, sources said, is just how much Randle wants to remain a Knick. And right now, that desire is strong.

If nothing happens, Randle stands to be a restricted free agent in 2022. “We’ll see when we get to that time,” Randle said. “But right now, I’m really just focused on what we have to do as a team. That’s so far ahead in the future. When that time presents itself I’ll be ready, we’ll talk or whatever, but I’m really just focused on this team, first off getting a win [Thursday] going into All-Star break, getting my body right so I’m healthy, staying on top of what I have to, starting off the second half of the season strong. That’s where my focus is right now.”

He says he’ll wait until the summer to make his final decision, but he’s enjoyed his time with the Pelicans and it wouldn’t be shocking to see him re-sign with them even if Davis — one of his good friends and the person that convinced him to come to New Orleans — is headed out the door. “In the summertime, I’ll weigh the pros and cons of everything and what works best,” Randle said. “Honestly, it’s been great for me here. I’m loving it, I’m enjoying every second of it. My family’s happy here. It’s been a good situation. When we get to the summertime we’ll see what happens, but for now, I’m just enjoying the moment. I realize anything can happen in this business, but I’m enjoying it so far.”

Julius Randle: I try not to look too much into next summer. Obviously, you know it’s there. But like I said, (agent) Aaron (Mintz) did a great job of preparing me for everything last summer. We knew what the situation was. There wasn’t a lot of money out there, there weren’t a lot of teams with cap space, and all that. So for me to come here, we felt like it was the best basketball decision. To be here, play here, for me to thrive as a player. And that’s really how we looked at it. When the summer comes around in 2019, we’ll revisit that and go from there, but for me I’m just enjoying the situation I’m in right now. Enjoying playing basketball, having fun and hopefully winning some more games. That’s all I can really focus on now.

Julius Randle went, in one season, from a cap casualty to legitimately valuable role player. It seems that wasn’t enough to convince the Lakers to make him feel wanted, though, according to NBA.com’s David Aldridge. This would be quite a disappointing development in an offseason that’s already seen the Los Angeles Lakers miss out on Paul George. Here’s what Aldridge had to say about what he’s heard regarding talks between Randle and the Lakers: “Julius Randle has made it clear that I don’t think he really wants to be back there, so are you putting money into a guy that doesn’t really want to be back there?”

Julius Randle on his impending restricted free agency: “I try to separate emotions from business. I know sometimes they go hand in hand, you spend four years in a place, it kind of goes hand in hand. But honestly, I’m just so focused on my craft and continuing to get better as a player. It’s an exciting time to be a [restricted] free agent, it’s an exciting time. Even more exciting for me is the ability to get better and build off this year. So I mean it might be an emotional time, I don’t know, I’ve never been through this process before but I’ll try to separate [business and emotion] and really just try and enjoy the process and things and educate myself. My team, my agent, everybody has done a great job of educating me on the whole thing and I feel prepared.”

Julius Randle on what he values as far as culture when he considers teams in free agency: “I just feel like culture is important. I feel like having an identity as a team of who you wanna be is really important. You look at the teams who are in the conference finals right now: Boston has an identity and a culture, Houston, Cleveland Golden State, those teams have a culture that makes them successful. I think a reason we had success was because we bought into the way we wanted to play every night with the Lakers. So I feel like identity, culture and direction are really important, and I feel like if you get all the players to buy into that, then everybody has success. Because then you know what you’re working for and how you fit into that.”

Julius Randle on the Lakers not negotiating an extension with him last summer in favor of holding onto their cap space: “I feel like I really had no choice but to separate it [his feelings from the business side of basketball]. I think the extension [had] to be done the day before the season, but I really didn’t have a choice. I had to focus on what I could control. I couldn’t control not getting that extension or whatever happened throughout the year with coming off the bench. I could just control what I could control. That’s just like my preparation, the work that I put in, my focus, my attention, my energy, you know, all those things I could control. I knew that I put in the work, so it was only a matter of time before everything would line up and I just feel like I’m in a better position anyway this summer than if I had worked out an extension last summer. So I guess it’s just funny how life works.”

Mavs to pursue DeMarcus Cousins, DeAndre Jordan and Julius Randle?

Ever since word spread in league circles in March that Dirk Nowitzki would return to the Mavericks for his 21st season, there have also been rumblings that the Dallas front office will look to make additions this summer that can put the team back on a winning track. The Mavericks can create space to sign a max free agent, and multiple league sources expect them to pursue a trio of big men: DeAndre Jordan, DeMarcus Cousins, and restricted free agent Julius Randle. If the Mavericks do indeed plan to pursue expensive bigs in free agency, then it’d make sense to target a primary scorer, like Porter, rather than Bamba.

Randle will become a restricted free agent this summer. Though the Lakers would like to keep him, his future will hinge on how much money another team is willing to pay and the success the Lakers have wooing LeBron James and Paul George. If Randle’s time with the Lakers is running out, he’s made the most of it, averaging a career-high 16.2 points while grabbing eight rebounds per game. Randle ranks 10th in the NBA in field goal percentage at 55.8 percent, and on Friday he corralled his 25th double-double and 12th in his past 15 games.
4 years ago via ESPN

If the Lakers get only one max free agent, or perhaps none, the team’s seventh pick in the 2014 draft could remain with the team, though management likely would want to maintain its cap flexibility for the summer of 2019 in that case. “It would be tough to say no to L.A., honestly,” Randle said with a chuckle when asked how much he wants to remain a Laker. “It is the place that drafted me. I would love to be here. I have to do what is best for the family and hopefully they want me here as well.”

That noted, Los Angeles might also be unlikely to receive those types of offers in the first place, according to Bobby Marks of ESPN: “The biggest obstacle is that he’ll be a restricted free agent in the offseason. In talking to teams, they feel that instead of giving up an asset or first-round pick for Randle, they can just go out and sign him. Give him an offer sheet in the summer and not give up an asset. … If [Lakers] keep him, that’s an indication that they’re going to retain him when we get into the summer.”
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July 2, 2022 | 3:43 pm EDT Update