Julius Randle smiling white uniform no opponent visable
“I have a vision of what I want to be a part of for the rest of my career,” Randle told reporters on Friday. “This is a step towards that. Just feels really good just to know that I’ll be here for a while and just to be able to have the opportunity for years to put on that Knicks jersey. It feels really good.”
Randle had an opportunity to gamble on himself in the 2021-22 season. If he replicated or improved from his All-Star season, he would have made more money in free agency next summer.
But a winning culture with a playoff team last year (and an improved roster with Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier), as well as financial and living security, made signing an extension now an easy decision for the 26-year-old.
“When I signed here two years ago, this was my vision: to be able to lock in something long-term and build something from the ground up, and that’s what we’re doing. Everybody, that’s what we’re doing, all hands on deck. It’s what we’re doing. For me, it’s kind of like a no-brainer. It was security, but for me, I just truly enjoy being a Knick at the end of the day, and I don’t think there’s a better place to win. I don’t think there’s a better place to win a championship than here, and I want to be a part of that. I feel like I can help be a part of that, and I feel like when we signed this extension, it can help Leon [Rose] and all the other guys get pieces and continue to build the team so we can have that opportunity.
“We’re all a family, we enjoy being around each other, and we have that trust. Even if I left money on the table, I trust that in the long run, it’s gonna pay off. I trust Leon, I trust [William Wesley], I trust Scott [Perry], [Tom Thibodeau], all those guys that they’re gonna give us the best possible chance to put us in the best position now and in the future to bring a championship to the Knicks, and that’s what it’s about.
“I don’t know if I could make that commitment anywhere else. So it really speaks to the fact of the culture we have here, me being able to trust the guys that are helping us and working to get us the best possible team, and you know anybody that comes in that’s here that comes in, they have to fit into that culture. And Wes and Leon and those guys have done a great job of building that atmosphere for us.”
Randle did admit he thought about other opportunities, but his happiness in New York prevailed.
“I’ve had stops along the way in my career where I haven’t been happy playing. I understand both sides of it and how hard this game can be. How hard it can be being on a team where the chemistry is not right, and it’s tough showing up to your job every night. And for me, I truly enjoy showing up to my job every day,” said Randle. “Whether it was practice, whether it was flying, whether it was playing the game, whatever it was, I truly enjoy it, and I’m happy being a Knick. Playing in front of the fans and everything. … I went back and forth on it, but at the end of the day, I wanted to win, and I feel like this can help us win, and stability was important, as well.”
After Randle’s subpar performance in the playoffs, though, there were doubters who feel that Randle can’t keep up his play from last season.
But he shrugs them off.
“People who say that really just don’t know s–t about me,” Randle said. “If you watched my career and you watched me play every year, I’ve gotten better. That just speaks to mindset and who I am as a player. So if you think that, have fun with that take.”