Where the New York Knicks go from here is one of the biggest mysteries of the offseason. Back-to-back appearances in the Eastern Conference Semifinals have certainly put the Knicks in contention at the top of the Eastern Conference, yet injuries have been their downfall each of the last two seasons.

Specifically, Julius Randle's postseason absence has led to questions about his immediate future with the franchise.

Randle initially suffered a dislocated right shoulder against the Miami Heat on Jan. 27. At first, the Knicks said he would be re-evaluated in three weeks from the time of the injury, offering a sense of hope that the All-Star forward would return before the start of the playoffs.

Unfortunately, Randle never returned to the court, as he suffered a setback in his recovery process and underwent right-shoulder surgery at the start of April. New York announced that doctors expect Randle to make a full recovery for the start of the 2024-25 season.

The main question for the Knicks is not whether or not Randle can play, but if they actually want him to return to the court. Without Randle, the Knicks went 21-15 during the regular season, and they were able to become a more physical team with Josh Hart and OG Anunoby filling out the power forward position alongside Isaiah Hartenstein in the frontcourt.

Then again, the presence of Randle in the frontcourt provides New York with more bodies and more scoring opportunities than just out on the perimeter or from Jalen Brunson.

The Knicks enter the offseason with big decisions to make regarding Randle's future, not only in trade talks but regarding a potential extension as well.

Julius Randle's future with Knicks

New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) warms up before a game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

The Knicks have always been in the market for star players. Although they have Randle and Brunson, two All-Stars, the Knicks will once again entertain the idea of pursuing some of the better players available this summer.

There is no chance in the world that the organization will ever look to part ways with Brunson, given his leadership and production, but the same can't be said for Randle.

At the same time, the Knicks are not actively looking to trade Randle, according to The Athletic's Fred Katz.

In his five seasons with the Knicks, Randle has been productive, averaging 22.6 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 4.7 assists per game while shooting 45.0 percent from the floor. Next to Brunson, Randle can absolutely continue to find success in a Knicks uniform. However, the team understands that pursuing another star player would likely spell the end of Randle's tenure with the franchise.

The key to figuring out Randle's future in New York is dependent on what the two sides ultimately decide to do regarding his contract situation. As of Aug. 3, the three-time All-Star will be eligible to receive a contract extension that exceeds $180 million over a four-year span.

Whether or not the Knicks will try to keep Randle, possibly offering him this type of extension, will be influenced by what they are able to do in free agency with Anunoby and Hartenstein.

The Knicks are going to seriously evaluate their financial situation this offseason. Crossing the second apron is not something they would like to do, but it may be necessary in order to keep their current team together.

This is why contract negotiations with Randle will be key, as he could possibly be willing to take a little bit less money in order to help the organization retain Anunoby, Hartenstein and others. As Katz alluded to, Randle did take less money on a new contract with New York a few seasons ago.

A decision to keep or possibly trade Randle is one the Knicks' front office is going to have to think long and hard about. As of right now, it appears as if New York is keen on the idea of keeping their star forward.