The New York Knicks came into free agency with more than $50 million in salary cap space and have chosen to use a big chunk of it to retain their own players. Early Thursday morning, they locked up another one of their guys, Julius Randle, who wasn't a free agent but was set to become one next summer. 

The Knicks and Randle have agreed to a four-year, $117 million extension that will run through the summer of 2026, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports. The final year is a player option for Randle, who is set to make $19.8 million in the final season of his current deal. 

Had Randle waited until next summer to extend, he could've gotten $200 million. By signing early, and for less, it gives New York a chance to continue adding significant pieces around him, and it will put Randle in line for hopefully another big extension one year earlier as he enters his thirties. 

So far this free agency period the Knicks have brought in Evan Fournier and Kemba Walker, who signed after a buyout with OKC, while re-signing Alec Burks, Derrick Rose, Nerlens Noel and Taj Gibson

Randle enjoyed a breakout campaign last season when he averaged 24 points, 10 rebounds and six assists on 41-percent 3-point shooting in earning second-team All-NBA honors. It didn't go so well in the playoffs, however, as New York was eliminated in five games in the first round by the Atlanta Hawks with Randle shooting under 30 percent from the field.