NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Neither was their first choice, but the Knicks managed to land some good players on Sunday as NBA free agency opened.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, New York reached agreements with veteran forwards Julius Randle and Taj Gibson. Randle will sign a three-year, $63 million contract, while Gibson will get two years and $20 million.
The Knicks had hoped to lure top max free agents like Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to Madison Square Garden this offseason, but they’ve reportedly chosen to sign with New York’s cross-town rivals, the Brooklyn Nets.
In Randle, the Knicks are getting a 6-foot-9, 250-pound low-post presence who can score and rebound. Randle was selected No. 7 overall in the 2014 draft by the Los Angeles Lakers, but broke his right leg in the regular season opener and missed the remainder of the season. He averaged 11.3 points, 13.2 and 16.1, respectively, over the next three seasons, before signing as an unrestricted free agent with the New Orleans Pelicans last summer.
Randle made the most of his time in New Orleans, having easily his best season. Playing a career-high 30 minutes a night, Randle averaged 21.4 points and 8.7 rebounds in 73 games, including 49 starts. He also shot 52.4 percent from the floor.
A former standout at the University of Kentucky, Randle is only 24 years old and should fit right in the Knicks’ youthful core, which includes center Mitchell Robinson, small forwards Kevin Knox, Allonzo Trier and Damyean Dotson, point guard Dennis Smith Jr., and swingman RJ Barrett, the No. 3 overall pick in the recently completed draft.
Gibson, who turned 34 last week, averaged 10.8 points and 6.4 rebounds this past season with the Minnesota Timberwolves. A respected role player, Gibson is also expected to provide leadership in the locker room.