July 31 marked the trigger date for Julius Randle‘s contract guarantee, so the Knicks now owe him the full $19.8MM for next season, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. There was no suspense about whether New York would be willing to pay Randle that much in the wake of a career season that saw him win the Most Improved Player award and earn second-team All-NBA honors.
The real intrigue this offseason involves a four-year, $106MM+ extension that Randle is eligible to receive. The Knicks have plenty of incentive to sign him at that figure, as Randle could potentially make a lot more next summer as an unrestricted free agent, particularly if he puts together another All-NBA season. New York will have his Bird rights if that happens and can exceed the salary cap to re-sign him.
Randle joined the Knicks two years ago on a three-year, $63MM contract that carried just a $4MM guarantee for 2021/22. His game blossomed in New York, especially under new coach Tom Thibodeau, as he averaged 24.1 points, 10.2 rebounds and 6.0 assists per night while leading the team to the No. 4 seed in the East.
There’s more from New York:
- The Knicks’ decision to trade the 19th pick in this year’s draft to the Hornets for a heavily protected future selection was done to free up another $2.4MM for free agency, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post, citing an NBA executive who has talked to team president Leon Rose. New York never planned to use both of its first-round picks Thursday night and was happy to get Quentin Grimes and Miles McBride after trading down.
- Even if the Knicks can’t lure top targets Chris Paul and Kyle Lowry in free agency, they will have plenty of options at point guard, Berman adds. With more than $50MM in cap space, New York can outbid rival teams for Spencer Dinwiddie, Cameron Payne, Dennis Schroder or Reggie Jackson. Restricted free agent Lonzo Ball remains a possibility, but the Knicks saw him as a better fit in February than they do now, sources tell Berman. Re-signing Derrick Rose, a favorite of Thibodeau, remains on the table, although the front office is debating whether to make a long-term offer to Rose, who will turn 33 in October. The Bulls may get into the bidding for the Chicago native.
- Saturday’s decision to waive backup center Norvel Pelle increases the chances that Taj Gibson will be back on the roster next season, Berman states in a separate story. A source told Berman the Knicks would consider re-signing Pelle at some point during the season if injuries leave them needing help in the middle.