The New York Knicks and All-Star forward Julius Randle reportedly "intend to talk" about a contract extension during the 2021 NBA offseason.
ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported Thursday the Knicks can add four years to his current deal, which runs through next season, but they can only offer a 20 percent increase in salary, which means the situation could come down to "how much Randle wants to remain a Knick."
Randle has been the cornerstone of the franchise's turnaround as it tries to secure its first playoff berth in eight years. He's averaged 24.1 points, 10.2 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 2.3 threes across 65 appearances during the 2020-21 campaign.
The 26-year-old could wait until after next season to become a free agent, which would increase his earning potential, but signing an extension this summer would give the front office more financial certainty and flexibility to keep building the roster around him.
Windhorst noted the Knicks can offer Randle a four-year extension with $106 million in guaranteed money and a maximum value of $140 million with incentives. It represents a solid raise but also "significantly less" than he could command on the open market in 2022.
An alternative option the sides could explore is a shorter extension that would give the team short-term assurances while still giving the 6'8'' playmaker a chance to land a larger deal in a few years. Windhorst suggested that could become the "most likely scenario" since Randle has a "strong" desire to remain in New York.
In March, the former University of Kentucky standout was asked whether he wants to spend the rest of his career with the Knicks after stops with the Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Pelicans.
"It's always a thought," Randle told reporters. "When I came here almost two years ago, that was the plan. I wanted to be here long-term. I want to be a Knick. So my thoughts never changed. I would definitely love to be here long-term. When we get to that part, sit down and talk, whatever. But right now I'm more so focused on the team."
The Knicks are fourth in the Eastern Conference with a 37-29 record, which leaves them two games ahead of the seventh-seeded Miami Heat (35-31) in the race to avoid the play-in tournament. They have already clinched at least a berth in the pre-playoff event with six games left in the regular season.
New York is in the midst of a difficult six-game road trip that finishes with games against three Western Conference contenders: the Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Clippers and Lakers.
Randle and Co. then return home to Madison Square Garden to finish the campaign with matchups against the San Antonio Spurs, Charlotte Hornets and Boston Celtics.
The Hornets and Celtics are also involved in the race for the final guaranteed postseason berths in the East, so the Knicks will have to kick it into a playoff gear a little early to secure their place in the field.