PHILADELPHIA – Julius Randle could use a boost in his mixed-bag first season as a Knick. Maybe former super-agent Leon Rose, expected to be announced officially as the Knicks president as soon as Monday, will be a good influence.
Unlike the other Knicks free agents, Randle’s three-year, $63 million contract calls for him to be back next season and possibly in 2021-22. (Randle is guaranteed $4 million for his third-year team option).
On the Knicks’ roster, only Randle and Frank Ntilikina know Rose well as clients of Creative Artists Agency. Rose ran CAA’s basketball department.
Ntilikina, however, parted ways with Rose before this season. Randle, whose primary agent is Aaron Mintz, is still a CAA guy. The previous regime, led by former president Steve Mills, was open to trading Randle.
“Leon’s is a well-respected agent who’s done a lot of great things representing players in his career,” Randle told The Post Wednesday before facing the Hornets. “I haven’t heard one bad thing about him. My personal relationship with him has always been very respectful. … Great guy, great family guy and well-respected agent. Straight-up guy. He’s a good dude.”
There’s been success stories with agents running franchises with Golden State’s Bob Myers, the Lakers’ Rob Pelinka and Utah’s Justin Zanik. But there have been cases where it hasn’t worked as hoped: Lon Babby failed in Phoenix, Arn Tellem hasn’t turned around Detroit and Joe Branch is new to moribund Minnesota.
“It’s got to be the right person,” Randle told The Post. “You can’t have any agent run a team. You got to be a person with a good reputation amongst other agents and NBA executives — a straight-up and standup person. A person with a good reputation who has had success representing players. We got players who have great agents and not so great. It might be a good fit for some.”
Randle’s frustration with the Knicks’ losing seems to be growing by the day. Randle, after being benched the entire fourth quarter for hot-shooting Bobby Portis in Wednesday’s loss in Charlotte, bolted the locker room after the game before reporters were allowed inside.
That marked the third time in the last four games — all losses — Randle left early. It’s noteworthy because prior to that, he was usually the first player to talk after a game, often waiting for the writers by his locker, fully clothed.
This is Randle’s sixth season in the NBA, and a loss by the Knicks (17-41) Thursday in Philly will clinch his sixth straight losing season.
Randle has been as healthy as a horse. His only two missed games were for personal reasons following the passing of his grandmother. The lefty power forward scored 18 points with nine rebounds in Charlotte.
But defense isn’t his strong suit. Sometimes his ball-stopping, lane-clogging, low-post style of play doesn’t help the offensive flow. His 3-point shooting has also been abysmal recently. In his past 15 games, Randle is shooting 10.5 percent from 3.
Maybe Rose’s presence will elevate Randle.