Julius Randle Reveals Lakers Locker Room Made Light Of Free Agent Rumors
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

An interesting offseason awaits the Los Angeles Lakers, as the organization has positioned itself to be an active player in free agency when the likes of DeMarcus Cousins, Paul George and LeBron James will all test the open market.

It’s no secret that president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general Rob Pelinka have a desire to signing a superstar or two this summer to quickly elevate the Lakers back to championship contender status.

The front office’s plan has been noted as early as last offseason, when the new front office made their first significant move in trading Timofey Mozgov and D’Angelo Russell to the Brooklyn Nets as an effort to create salary cap space for the upcoming summer.

Johnson’s and Pelinka’s vision continued into the 2017-18 regular season when the two pulled off another significant transaction in dealing Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. to the Cleveland Cavaliers for further cap relief.

The moves led to a flurry of speculation by the national media of what was yet to come, potentially disrupting the young Lakers’ locker room as a result of the rumors surfacing on social media and television, among other outlets.

But that wasn’t the case, as during an appearance on “The Woj Pod with Adrian Wojnarowski”, Randle revealed that the locker room often joked about any rumors or speculation of the organization’s future plans:

“Not weird. Honestly, I felt like everybody felt it was funny. It was, like, jokes. Constantly. Nobody ever took any report or anything that was coming out, being said, seriously. We weren’t focused on it. Part of being a player, you realize really quickly you only have so much you can control. You can’t control being in trade talks. You can’t control contract negotiations. You can only control that with your play. Everybody, honestly, we just bought in to each other. Bought in to trying to go out every night, try to build something, try to win games. Everybody tried to get better. Whether it was in the locker room or whatever, we just laughed and had fun. We didn’t really focus on too much of what was being said.”

As Randle points out, the Lakers’ young core stuck together all season and used the rumors as fuel to exceed expectations.

In the wake of a career year, Randle is set to become a restricted free agent and cash in with a lucrative contract this summer. The 23-year-old stated he will value culture and identity when mulling over offers in the coming weeks.

The Lakers, however, will ultimately decide Randle’s destiny as they can match any contract offer that potentially comes his way.

One team that is already rumored to make a play is the Dallas Mavericks, who are reportedly prepared to pursue Randle and others in an effort to upgrade their frontcourt.

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