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Julius Randle looks up hands on hips 5/30

Julius Randle looks up hands on hips 5/30

Julius Randle has struggled in his first postseason. He’s shooting 27 percent from the floor through four games. If that continues on Wednesday in Game 5, Knicks fans aren’t going to be happy.

Some will probably say that New York should consider trading Randle. Others will say the Knicks should be wary of paying him significant money on his next contract.

That would be an overreaction.

Here’s why:

The Knicks can offer Randle a four-year, $106 million extension this summer. Even if Randle ends up as New York’s second- or third-best player, his contract – at that number – wouldn’t be onerous.

The Knicks can have as much as $60 million in cap space this summer and don’t have much money committed beyond next season. So Randle’s $26 million per year won’t crush their cap space.

Also, and maybe more importantly, Randle’s recent track record suggests he’ll improve in future playoff series.

Asked what he’s learned about the playoffs after Game 4, Randle talked about this being a “learning experience” for him.

He also referred to his first season in New York in the same way.

Randle struggled last season – his first with the Knicks. He was the face of a team that finished 21-45 and took the brunt of media/fan criticism.

That kind of criticism has ruined other players in New York. For Randle, it did the opposite.

He worked in the offseason on his shooting, conditioning and other areas and came back a different player this season.

We all saw the results. All-Star appearance. Most Improved Player. Forty-one regular season wins for the Knicks.

So Randle has shown you that he can improve. And he’s also shown you that he can handle being the face of a franchise in New York. That may seem insignificant.

But it matters to the Knicks. A player’s ability to handle success and failure in New York – and all that comes along with it – is valued by members of the organization.

Randle proved that he can deal with the attention and criticism by the way he played in the regular season.

Even if Randle’s first postseason appearance ends in disappointment, the Knicks’ big-picture approach with the 26-year-old shouldn’t change.

They should remain committed to keeping him beyond his current contract – which contains a team option for 2021-22.

There’s no reason to overreact to five games.