The New York Knicks biggest signing of this past summer was the addition of former Kentucky forward, Julius Randle, who they brought on board for at least two-years worth nearly $20 million per season. The bonuses involved could make Randle even richer, but he has to exceed some lofty expectations.
According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, Randle is eligible to receive an extra $900,000 per benchmark if he can hit one/or all of these:
- Being named to either the first or second All-NBA Defensive Team.
- Being named to the All-Star team.
- Making the playoffs while playing in at least 65 games.
Breaking down these incentives, it doesn’t seem likely that Randle will be able to hit any of them, but that doesn’t mean he won’t try.
Randle has never been known as a premier defender in the league and his value has largely been placed in his ability to power through his opponents. He isn’t a bad defender by any means but is hardly steady enough on that end to warrant a potential defensive team selection.
Outside of his rookie season – where he broke his leg during the very first game – Randle has appeared in at least 74 games per season throughout his five-year career in Los Angeles and New Orleans. If he can stay healthy like he has been, meeting that number shouldn’t be difficult at all. Making the playoffs, on the other hand, will be damn near impossible for this squad no matter how great Randle plays.
The likeliest possibility for Randle to cash in on nearly an extra million dollars will be making the All-Star team, which is actually quite possible, in my opinion.
As a member of the Pelicans last season, Randle averaged 21.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game while shooting over 52 percent from the field. He expanded his game a bit by adding an outside shot (34.4 percent on 2.7 three-point attempts in 2018-19) and was the best player outside of Jrue Holiday when Anthony Davis was going through that whole trade debacle.
While making an All-Star team sounds like it will be a tough challenge – and it will be – Randle has a perfect opportunity to do so in New York. He’ll enter the new season as the Knicks best and most established player on a team that is widely expected to quickly descend to the bottom of the Eastern Conference. While the power dynamics in the NBA has shifted a bit, the Western Conference still controls a majority of the league’s top talent. You could make an argument that Randle would have earned an All-Star spot last season had he been in the East. Players such as Kyle Lowry and D’Angelo Russell had great seasons, but so did Randle – everything he did was simply overshadowed when it came to the national media. Kevin Durant – now a member of the Brooklyn Nets in the East – will miss all of next season, too. Randle will have more than a shot to make it happen.
Randle might not be the Knicks centerpieces moving forward (that is being reserved by rookie RJ Barrett and former Kentucky forward Kevin Knox), but he’ll surely be the team’s best player, especially early in the season. He has the potential to bust out for another career year and this time he’ll actually be covered like a top talent. Making the All-Star team is still an optimistic goal for the 24-year old, however not one too far out of reach. Even when the Knicks are bad, people still talk about them. Barrett is going to draw the viewers, Randle will surprise them. Expect a big year from the BBN-loving big man.