Julius Randle has agreed to a 3-year, $63 million contract with the New York Knicks on Sunday’s free agency extravaganza. CAA agents Aaron Mintz and Steve Heumann told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who originally reported it.
New York now have a projected $47 million in cap space after starting the night with $68 million. The Knicks whiffed on both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, allowing them to offer Randle $21 million a year.
ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne suggested that Randle was the fallback plan for Knicks owner Jim Dolan.
“The Knicks and owner Jim Dolan were not prepared to offer Kevin Durant a full max contract due to concerns over his recovery from the Achilles injury, league sources tell me,” she tweeted. “Knicks officials are in Los Angeles tonight, meeting with free agents such as Julius Randle.”
Randle is playing in his third city in three seasons. He scored nearly 17 points per game with the Lakers in 2017-18, and boosted his totals to 21.4 points per last season with New Orleans.
He declined his player option with New Orleans for $9 million. That led to reported meetings with Chicago for their own free agent availability. However, the Bulls had far less wiggle room with $22.5 million in cap space, as well as a definite need for a point guard rather than another forward/center type.
New York Knicks Roster & Projected Starting Lineup 2019-20
C: Mitchell Robinson, Noah Vonleh (FA), Luke Kornet (FA)
PF: Julius Randle, Lance Thomas, Henry Ellenson (FA), Isaiah Hicks (FA)
SF: Mario Hezonja (FA), Kevin Knox
SG: R.J. Barrett, Alonzo Trier, John Jenkins (FA)
PG: Dennis Smith Jr., Emmanuel Mudiay (FA), Frank Ntilikina, Kadeem Allen, Kyle Guy, Billy Garrett (FA)
The Knicks roster will still undergo a ton of developments, as Kornet and Mudiay were not given qualifying offers. Vonleh, Ellenson, Hicks, Hezongja, Jenkins, Ntilikina and Garrett could also be out the door, as well.
In terms of players to expect back, Knox and Robinson form an athletic and strong interior presence. Knox was more of a power forward last season, but with Randle in the fold, the former Kentucky Wildcats can rotate into the 3/4 spots together.
The next goals for New York is to find a quality guard in free agency. Dennis Smith, Jr. is not a starter, and there’s been speculation that D’Angelo Russell is going to go from Brooklyn to Manhattan.
The 23-year-old just earned his first All-Star appearance for the Nets, meaning he would bring talent and longevity from one borough to the other.
He averaged over 21 points last season while dishing out seven assists per game. He provides range with his nearly 37 percent shooting from behind the arc.
As Forbes’ Tommy Baer points out, the brother of Seth would be another ideal fit for New York.
The Knicks badly need 3-point shooting, and there aren’t many shooters more accurate than Curry. The only issue for him has been staying on the floor; when healthy, he’s been remarkably reliable. In fact, dating back to the start of the 2015-16 campaign, among players who have attempted at least 300 3-pointers, Curry has the highest percentage in the league (43.9%). The only other player to have shot better than 43.2% is his older brother, Steph.
Back in the summer of 2016, the Mavs snapped up Curry at a discount ($5.8 million over two years) and Curry responded by starting 42 games and averaging 14.7 points, 2.8 assists and 1.2 steals, while posting a True Shooting percentage north of 60%.
Curry earned under $3 million with Portland last season, meaning he’s a high-value, low-cost option.