Before putting up 30 points on Monday against Cleveland, Julius Randle had struggled in his first few weeks as a member of the Knicks, averaging 15.5 PPG on .423/.200/.623 shooting with 3.8 TOPG through 13 games. Randle was the team’s big free agent addition of the offseason, inking a three-year deal worth about $19MM per season. However, the big man told Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News that the pressure of living up to that contract isn’t the reason for his slow start.
“No, the money is in the bank. So it’s not pressure for that,” Randle said. “Me and (head coach David Fizdale) joke about it all the time — the money is the bank, just go out and have fun. But moreso than the money, I have more responsibility.”
As Randle explained, he’s essentially the No. 1 offensive option for the Knicks, a role he didn’t have on his previous teams. As he continues to adjust to that new role, Randle is leaning on agent Aaron Mintz to help keep him focused and on the right track, as he told Bondy.
“I talk to (Mintz) every day. He talks me off a ledge every day. It’s like, I joke with him, it’s like my sane side — him and my wife,” Randle said. “Because I’m ready to blow up and they kind of talk me back to reality. He gives me a day just to chill out and then he talks me back to reality.”
Here’s more on the Knicks:
- David Fizdale dismissed concerns about his job security on Tuesday, telling reporters – including Ian Begley of SNY.tv – that he gets regular votes of confidence from team owner James Dolan. “Every game, every game. Jim Dolan comes in and gives me a vote of confidence, a pat on my back and really has just been incredibly encouraging over the last year and a half or whatever it’s been,” Fizdale said. “All we talk about is just sticking to the process of making these guys better and building for a future of sustainable winning.”
- The Knicks have no shortage of options for their backup shooting guard job, but Damyean Dotson appears to be claiming that role for now, as Marc Berman of The New York Post details. Dotson has averaged 19.6 minutes per game over New York’s last five contests, while Allonzo Trier has played 21 total minutes during that stretch and Wayne Ellington has played just 18. Dotson and Trier will be eligible for restricted free agency at season’s end; Ellington has a non-guaranteed $8MM salary for 2020/21.
- Mike Vornukov of The Athletic and Kevon Pelton of ESPN each take a look at RJ Barrett‘s early-season workload, exploring how closely that issue is worth monitoring.
- As we relayed earlier today, Elfrid Payton will be sidelined for at least 10 more days due to a hamstring strain.