Julius Randle

Contract Bonus Notes: Nene, KCP, Randle, Jones

Veteran big man Nene officially signed his new contract with the Rockets back on September 6, but the NBA has yet to formally approve the deal, writes ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider link). Sources tell Marks that the league has been discussing internally whether it should disapprove of the incentives in the agreement, which create a $10MM trade chip despite the fact that Nene will likely only be paid about $2.56MM.

The NBA has the right to challenge deals that it believes violate the spirit of rules in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, even if those deals are technically legal based on what’s written in the CBA. While it seems unlikely that Nene’s deal would be nixed, it wouldn’t be surprising if the league looked to adjust the rules related to bonuses and incentives in the future to prevent teams from manipulating a player’s cap hit to such a significant extent.

In the meantime, Nene’s deal is hardly the only one signed this offseason heavy on bonus money. We’ve gone into detail on the incentives included in a handful of other contracts, such as the ones signed by Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, but Marks has even more details on bonuses available to players around the NBA this year.

We won’t pass along every single note included in Marks’ article, but here are a few of the noteworthy new bonuses worth watching in 2019/20:

  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope can earn three separate $350K bonuses if he averages 1.85 assists, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game this season with the Lakers. Caldwell-Pope’s new deal also includes a $163K bonus for being named to either All-Defensive team and a $50K bonus if the Lakers reach the Western Finals.
  • Julius Randle‘s contract with the Knicks includes three separate $900K unlikely bonuses that he could earn if he makes the All-Star team, is named to an All-Defensive team, or makes the playoffs (and appears in at least 65 games).
  • Tyus Jones‘ $9.258MM cap hit with the Grizzlies in 2019/20 includes an $858K bonus that has been deemed likely. Jones will earn the bonus if Memphis wins 33 games. If the rebuilding Grizzlies fall short of that mark, Jones’ cap hit for the season will dip to $8.4MM.
  • Maxi Kleber‘s new contract with the Mavericks features a set of four unlikely bonuses that could be worth up to $475K in total. To earn them all, Kleber must make an All-Defensive team ($150K), make at least 80% of his free throws ($75K), make at least 40% of his three-pointers ($150K), and average more than nine rebounds per 36 minutes ($100K).
  • Again, if you’re an ESPN Insider, be sure to check out Marks’ full story for more details on some of the more unusual incentives around the league.

Atlantic Notes: Randle, Dudley, Scott, Nets

The KnicksJulius Randle got a head start on building chemistry with his new teammates during workouts last month in Los Angeles, relays Marc Berman of The New York Post. Randle, who signed a three-year, $63MM contract, is among seven free agent additions in New York, along with rookies RJ Barrett and Ignas Brazdeikis.

“It’s important for us to get to know each other, spend time together on the court before training camp starts,” Randle said. “There’s a lot of new pieces. Everyone’s going to be trying to figure out their role. Coach (David Fizdale) is going to do a great job of helping us through that. If we want to be a good team and have a chance, we have to jump-start that process ourselves.”

From an individual standpoint, Randle is working this summer on becoming a more efficient scorer and is watching a lot of tape to try to improve defensively. He believes people who are expecting another losing season in New York are undervaluing the team.

“It’s easy to do that because the last couple of seasons have been hard,’’ Randle said. “It’s easy to underestimate us. But we’re a deep team. We’re a very deep 1-to-15 with guys who can play. If they underestimate us, I don’t care.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Jared Dudley was interested in signing with the Celtics, but the team believed it already had enough wings and wanted to keep a roster spot open, reports Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. The Boston College alum wound up joining the Lakers on a one-year deal.
  • Sixers forward Mike Scott is looking forward to having Al Horford as a teammate again, writes Lauren Rosen of NBA.com. Scott broke into the league with the Hawks in 2012/13 when Horford was one of the stars in Atlanta. “Not only is he a great player, he’s a great person,” Scott said. “You love to play with people like that. He’s humble, he’s grateful, he knows his role.”
  • The NBA Board of Governors is expected to address Joe Tsai’s purchase of the Nets next month, according to a NetsDaily article. The sale shouldn’t affect any of the basketball operations, but changes may be coming on the business side of the organization.

Julius Randle Out Of World Cup; Torrey Craig Joining Select Team

Team USA lost another star today as Julius Randle announced that he won’t be competing for a spot on the FIBA World Cup squad, tweets Brian Windhorst of ESPN. He cited an unspecified family issue for the decision.

Randle, who signed with the Knicks last month, was a late addition to camp, receiving an invitation 11 days ago along with the CelticsJaylen Brown after several high-profile players declined the opportunity. With competition for 12 roster spots to begin Monday, it’s not clear if there’s time to find a replacement for Randle.

A move was also made to the Select Team that will scrimmage against those players in Las Vegas. Torrey Craig of the Nuggets was chosen to replace Landry Shamet of the Clippers, who announced yesterday that he won’t be participating.

Players will report to camp tomorrow and the battle for roster spots will run through Thursday. The World Cup will take place from August 31 to September 15 in China.

Jaylen Brown, Julius Randle Invited To Team USA Camp

Jaylen Brown of the Celtics and Julius Randle of the Knicks are the latest additions to the USA Basketball training camp roster for the FIBA World Cup, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

They will help to restock the camp after a series of high-profile withdrawals in the past week. Tobias Harris was the latest big name to turn down a shot at making the World Cup team, joining Anthony Davis, James HardenBradley BealCJ McCollum and Eric Gordon. Decisions are expected soon from Damian Lillard and Kevin Love.

Brown struggled somewhat while adjusting to a reserve role last season, but still put up numbers similar to his breakthrough campaign of 2017/18, averaging 13.0 points and 4.2 rebounds in 74 games. At 22, he is part of the young foundation in Boston.

Randle signed with New York after posting a career-high 21.4 PPG in his lone season with New Orleans. The 24-year-old is also a reliable rebounder, averaging 8.7 per night with the Pelicans.

The changes are transforming Team USA from a star-filled squad into a younger group similar to the team that captured the World Cup gold medal in 2010, Charania notes.

Harris Withdraws From Team USA This Summer

Add Tobias Harris‘ name to the growing list of USA Basketball players pulling out of consideration for this year’s FIBA World Cup. Harris, who re-signed with the Sixers for five years and $180MM this summer, has decided to focus on the upcoming NBA season, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets.

Anthony Davis, James Harden, Bradley Beal, CJ McCollum and Eric Gordon have also withdrawn from Team USA participation this summer, starting with training camp in Las Vegas early next month. Two other players, Damian Lillard and Kevin Love, are also undecided and will announce their decisions in the next few days, Joe Vardon of The Athletic reports.

Team USA will bring 12 players to the FIBA tournament. Among the players under consideration to replace the stars who have withdrawn, according to Vardon, include Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, D’Angelo Russell, Mike ConleyJosh Richardson, Thaddeus Young and Julius Randle. Select Team members could also be considered for the final 12-man roster, including Trae Young, Vardon adds. Top pick Zion Williamson has withdrawn from the Select Team this summer.

The original list of 20 invitees to the USA Basketball camp can be found here.

Knicks Notes: Morris, Bullock, Vonleh

After officially announcing their deals with Marcus Morris and Reggie Bullock today, the Knicks appear to be just about done with free agency. Damyean Dotson‘s salary for 2019/20 became fully guaranteed because he remained on the roster through Monday, so New York is now carrying 15 players on guaranteed deals. The team has also exhausted its cap room and appears to have used a portion of the room exception to sign Bullock.

Here are a few Knicks-related notes on Morris, Bullock, and more:

  • Morris’ agent Rich Paul wasn’t directly involved in his client breaking his verbal agreement with the Spurs, and preferred that Morris stick to that agreement, a source tells Marc Berman of The New York Post. According to Berman, Morris and the Knicks worked together to strike a deal. As for Morris and Paul, they’re reportedly parting ways after the forward’s tumultuous free agency.
  • A source tells Berman that Bullock is out “indefinitely” and isn’t expected to be ready for the start of the regular season. Ian Begley of SNY.tv reports that Bullock will likely miss at least a month of the season. The details on the veteran guard’s health issue remain a mystery, but that issue helped scuttle the initial two-year deal between the two sides — that $21MM agreement would have been worth more than double the value of their new contract.
  • The Knicks’ goal is to win – not tank – in 2019/20, according to Berman, who speculates that Morris and Julius Randle may end up being the team’s starting forward tandem, with 2018 lottery pick Kevin Knox moving to the bench.
  • After leaving the Knicks for the Timberwolves in free agency, Noah Vonleh told Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic that he had a “great” time in New York last season. “It was a great opportunity,” Vonleh said. “They gave me some playing time, let me be the 4-man, just grow as a player and change the narrative that was on me that was in the league and gave myself another a chance to give myself a new life in the league.”

Contract Details: Knicks, Cook, T. Young, Mann

Details on the free agent contracts signed by the Knicks are starting to trickle in, with Bobby Marks of ESPN and Jeff Siegel of Early Bird Rights (Twitter links) providing specifics on Julius Randle‘s three-year deal.

While it was initially reported as being worth $63MM, Randle’s three-year pact with the Knicks has a base value of just $18MM in its first year, per Marks. Those cap hits increase to $18.9MM in year two and $19.8MM in year three, according to Siegel, who notes that the third year is partially guaranteed for just $4MM. The agreement has about $2MM in annual unlikely bonuses which could increase the total value into the $63MM range.

Here are details on a couple more Knicks contracts, as well as some other deals from around the NBA:

  • Taj Gibson and Elfrid Payton don’t technically have second-year team options on their respective contracts with the Knicks, but their second-year salaries are only guaranteed for $1MM apiece, according to Siegel (Twitter links).
  • The second season of the Lakers‘ two-year, $6MM deal with Quinn Cook is only partially guaranteed for $1MM, according to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). It would become fully guaranteed if Cook stays on the roster through June 29, 2020.
  • Thaddeus Young‘s three-year contract with the Bulls will have a total value between $40.6MM and 43.6MM, depending on whether he earns his incentives, tweets Pincus. The third year on Young’s deal is partially guaranteed for $6MM.
  • The Clippers used their cap room to sign second-rounder Terance Mann to a four-year, $6.2MM contract before they went over the cap to acquire Paul George, tweets Bobby Marks. A minimum-salary deal for Mann would be worth about $6.13MM over four years, so it sounds like he may get slightly more than the minimum in his rookie season.
    • Update: The first two years of Mann’s deal are guaranteed, and he’ll make $1MM in year one, tweets Siegel.

Knicks Officially Sign Randle, Portis, Gibson, Ellington, Payton

The Knicks officially finalized five of their free agent signings on Monday night, according to NBA.com’s transactions log, which lists the deals for Julius Randle, Bobby Portis, Taj Gibson, Wayne Ellington, and Elfrid Payton as having been completed.

Those deals are structured as follows:

  • Randle: Three years, $63MM. First two years guaranteed. (Story)
  • Portis: Two years, $31MM. First year guaranteed. (Story)
  • Gibson: Two years, $20MM. First year guaranteed. (Story)
  • Ellington: Two years, $16MM. First year guaranteed. (Story)
  • Payton: Two years, $16MM. First year guaranteed. (Story)

While those five signings will use up most of the club’s cap room, there’s still one notable signing to be finalized, as Reggie Bullock‘s two-year, $21MM deal is not yet official.

Knicks Notes: Portis, Randle, Smith Jr., Westbrook

The way free agency played out came as no surprise to newly acquired Knicks big man Bobby Portis, relays Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. Portis said was certain in February that Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving were planning to team up in Brooklyn for the Nets.

“We all knew that. Everybody knew that,” he said. “I just don’t think the media knew that. Us basketball players, we all knew that. … I’m not going to leak my source. But we all know where they were going.”

That decision eliminated one possibility for Portis, who wanted to play in New York. He said the Bucks, Wizards, Clippers and Lakers were among the teams that expressed interest, but his first choice was the Knicks, who needed help in their frontcourt. Portis was primarily a power forward in Chicago and a center in Washington and feels comfortable at either position.

“I’m (gonna) be playing in a beautiful city for the New York Knicks,” he said. “That’s a dream come true. … Being able to have a chance to play in Madison Square Garden for 41-plus nights, it’s a thrill. It’s what everybody dreams of as a kid. I’m ecstatic.”

There’s more today from New York City:

  • A “dream come true” is also how Julius Randle described his opportunity with the Knicks to Marc Berman of The New York Post. With a three-year, $61MM deal, Randle is the only one of New York’s six free agent additions to get a contract guaranteed beyond one season. “I had a lot of options,” Randle said. “I felt this opportunity for me was the greatest opportunity. The whole fan base that’s staving and hungry to win more than (any team) in the NBA.”
  • The Knicks are coming off a 17-win season and didn’t make the splash in free agency that fans were hoping for, but Dennis Smith Jr. expressed confidence to Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News that they can be a playoff team. He cites not only an upgraded roster, but his own improved jump shot. Bondy notes that Smith is going to be challenged for the starting point guard role by the newly signed Elfrid Payton, who was drafted in Orlando by Knicks GM Scott Perry.
  • Russell Westbrook‘s age, salary and lack of efficiency make him too much of a risk for the Knicks, argues Tommy Beer of Forbes. New York has been among the teams rumored to have interest in Westbrook since news of the Paul George trade broke yesterday, but its free agents signings will make it difficult to put together a deal until they’re all eligible to be traded on December 15.

Knicks To Sign Julius Randle To Three-Year, $63MM Deal

The Knicks have agreed to sign Julius Randle to a three-year, $63MM deal, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports (Twitter link).

Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports tweets that the final year of the pact contains a team option, while Steve Popper of Newsday (Twitter link) classifies it as a partial guarantee.

Rumors of the Knicks’ interest in Randle sprouted once the Pelicans landed Zion Williamson and it became clear that New Orleans wasn’t likely to compete for the big man’s services. Those rumors continued in the week leading up to free agency.

New York is expected to have $51M in cap room after the agreement, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link). It’s unclear if which players they are targeting with their cap space. The Knicks missed out on their top target in Kevin Durant, watching the former MVP sign with the crosstown Knicks. Kyrie Irving is also headed to Brooklyn.

Randle had a breakout season during his lone year in New Orleans. He notched career-highs in points per game (21.4), 3-pointers made (nearly one per contest), and player efficiency rating (21.0).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.