Julius Randle Reveals Why He Chose Knicks In Free Agency

Julius Randle, Knicks, NBA
Jan 17, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) reacts after a basket against Houston Rockets forward Jeff Green (32) during the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The outlook for the New York Knicks changed forever during the 2019 NBA offseason. That is when they started out of mediocrity and became a respectable organization in the league once again.

In the media, people spoke about how that offseason would be historic for the Knicks. They were going to sign Kevin Durant and another star to pair with him along with landing Zion Williamson with the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.

Of course, none of that happened. The Knicks landed the No. 3 pick as Williamson went No. 1 to the New Orleans Pelicans and Ja Morant went second to the Memphis Grizzlies. That left New York with Williamson’s teammate at Duke, RJ Barrett.

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Julius Randle & New York Knicks Updates

On top of that, Durant teamed up with Kyrie Irving and joined the Brooklyn Nets, spurning the Knicks. Instead, they pivoted to Julius Randle as their free agent splash, which analysts naturally panned. But, given how things have turned out since, the Knicks knew what they were doing all along.

Recently, Randle made an appearance on the new podcast hosted by his teammates, Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart. He revealed why he chose the Knicks during free agency all those years ago, as he wanted the challenge no one else was willing to take up.

“I wanted to win here. I felt like, this ain’t a shot at nobody but New York was looked at like a place that nobody wanted to come to… I kinda felt like it was that Kobe spirit Mamba Mentality in me like man let me take on this challenge… it’s easy to play for the money, but for me it was more about legacy… if I’m done playing how do I wanna look back at my career? Did I challenge myself? Did I push myself? And for me everything I wanted to envision happen is happening now. We still not there, but you know we on the way,” Randle said on The Roommates Show.

That was the start of a new era for Knicks basketball, their most successful of this century. The first season in New York was a rough one for Randle, who has admitted he was putting too much pressure on himself to live up to his contract.

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Julius Randle & New York Knicks Updates

Since he has gotten comfortable, the results have improved drastically. This season, he was named an NBA All-Star for the third time in four seasons. A separated shoulder is all that likely kept him from earning a third All-NBA Team spot as well.

Playing in New York is not something for everyone and Randle certainly has had his ups and downs with the fans. But, at the end of the day, winning is all the fans care about and Randle has that in common with them.

They will be forever grateful for him signing with the team as a free agent when no one else would. And he will assuredly be forever grateful for his time in New York, as it is where his NBA career blossomed and he turned into the star we know him as today.

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