Julius Randle has very quickly gone from being hated to being loved in New York.
After a frustrating first year on the New York Knicks, Julius Randle has elevated his level of play to an MVP caliber level. Randle’s numbers this season are not just great — but historically great.
According to StatMuse, Julius Randle is on pace to join Larry Bird as only the second player ever to average 20+ points, 10+ rebounds, and 5+ assists while shooting 40+ percent from 3. That really puts into perspective just how dominant Randle has been this season and most importantly his high level of play is impacting the team in the win column.
If the Knicks were smart they would extend him whenever possible to make him a part of the team’s long-term plans. Extending Randle could help the Knicks quickly transition from a budding playoff team to a legitimate title contender.
Julius Randle’s elite level of play is already helping to speed up the Knicks’ rebuild. With the former Kentucky Wildcat locked down long-term and the Knicks remaining competitive, they’ll have a great chance to sign some stars in free agency over these next couple of years.
The blueprint for the Knicks’ pathway to contention is their crosstown rivals, the Brooklyn Nets. Ironically, the Nets also turned a former Los Angeles Laker-reject in D’Angelo Russell into an all-star caliber player and it only took one season of finishing as the 6th seed to land two mega-stars in free agency in both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
The New York market is so attractive that just being a respectable team makes you a prime free-agency destination for stars looking for a new home in the NBA. Committing the next few years to Randle, along with continuing to field a competitive roster will make the New York Knicks a very desirable destination in the next coming summers.
Kyle Lowry and Kawhi Leonard should become available in the summer of 2021 while Zach Lavine, Bradley Beal, and Steph Curry are set to potentially become unrestricted free agents in the summer of 2022. Being able to play on a good team, with a co-star like Julius Randle, and in one of the most attractive basketball markets in the world is a tremendous sales pitch to any of these upcoming superstar free-agents. Fortunately for the Knicks, Julius Randle has expressed a desire to stay in New York, per The New York Times.
Extending Julius Randle would be a huge step forward in making the Knicks contenders.