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Knicks sign Julius Randle to four-year, $117M extension

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This week has been like taking ecstasy and a rocket ship ride all at once.

NBA: Playoffs-Atlanta Hawks at New York Knicks POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

Hope you saved room during this tasty Knicks’ offseason for the main course:

In a week where the Chicago Bulls were feted for paying someone who’ll be 32 at the start of next season and hasn’t been an All-Star since 2018 $28.3M a year for three years, Leon Rose and company have extended Julius Randle, 26 when next year begins and fresh off an All-Star, All-NBA 2nd Team campaign, for $29.3M over four years. This season, the last under his first contract with New York, will pay him a shade under $20M. The deal includes a player option for the final year of the extension.

The deal seems to indicate mutual trust between team and player. Randle is trusting the franchise that’s had four winning seasons out of 20 is pointed in the right direction and will continue to improve around him. The Knicks are trusting that the player who shot 30% from the field and 33% from deep with more turnovers than assists in the playoffs suffered from a lack of quality around him and not within him. The additions of Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier, along with hopefully growth from RJ Barrett and other players, should ease the Atlas-like weight Randle struggled with against Atlanta in the postseason.

The money Randle left on the table by signing an extension now instead of next summer, something many figured he would, suggests there are more moves to come down the road. Maybe big moves. Quoth Adrian Wojnarowski:

“Randle could’ve waited for his contract to expire next season and signed a new $200 million deal, but extending now off his current $19.8 million salary for 2021-22 gives the Knicks financial flexibility to shape the roster and allows him to commit through his prime to a franchise and city he has come to adore — and one that has come to adore him.”

It’s been a helluva flurry of moves and surprises from the Knicks this week (and, as someone trying to finish grades for their summer class before throwing on his cape to cover these stories when they break, I’d label it “relentless” as well). The Randle news certainly feels like the icing on the cake. It also feels like vindication for a front office that just a few days ago was being ridiculed for its opening salvos of re-signing Nerlens Noel, Alec Burks and Derrick Rose, as if that was all they had in mind. What’s unfolded since was basically the Knicks as Michael Corleone and the haters as Carlo Rizzo and the Five Families. This week, the Knicks settled all family business. Stay tuned, though — who knows when they’ll do something else no one sees coming?