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Report: Knicks, Randle to talk extension in offseason (but he may wait for free agency)

The Knicks have been one of the hottest teams in the NBA, which leads Kurt Helin and Corey Robinson to discuss what their ceiling is this season.

Julius Randle made a huge leap this year — 24.1 points and 10.2 rebounds a game, shooting 42% from 3, which completely opened up his offensive game because he was always able to bully his way to the rim and score. It’s going to win him the Most Improved Player award this year and likely land him on an All-NBA team.

It’s also going to get him a big payday from the Knicks as one of their core players. The questions are when will he sign that deal and for how much?

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported what has been widely expected around the league — the Knicks will talk contract extension with Randle this offseason.

The sudden drop of an anticipated 2021 free-agent class has caused a ripple effect for the coming offseason -- teams have turned their attention to extending their own 2022 free agents.

Randle is a prime example and, for the Knicks, has gone from a maybe to a must-have...

The Knicks can add up to four years to Randle’s contract, and both sides intend to talk over the summer to see if they can come to an agreement, sources said. But salary-cap rules limit the raise in Randle’s salary to a max of 20%.

According to the numbers from NBC’s Dan Feldman, the most the Knicks can offer Randle in an extension is four years, $119 million, plus they would fully guarantee his salary for next season. It would work out to a little less than $140 million over five years for Randle with likely met incentives, and he could lock it in this year.

However, if he wants to bet on himself, Randle could play out next season on his current contract, become a free agent in the summer of 2022, then re-sign with the Knicks for a five-year maximum contract worth an estimated $201 million, a contract that would go one year longer than the extension.

Randle has said he likes playing for Tom Thibodeau and the Knicks and isn’t looking to leave, but he could play one more year in New York, become a free agent, and sign a four-year, $149 million contract with another team in 2022.

At the end of this season, at age 26, Randle will have made about $59 million. That’s a lot of money, but his next contract is going to be generational wealth — the kind of money that sets up his children and grandchildren. Will he want to take the bird in the hand this offseason or bet on the big money one year later?

It’s something to watch this offseason... but first we get to watch Randle and the Knicks in the playoffs.