As the NBA Trade Deadline approached, rumors surrounding a number of Los Angeles Lakers players continued to run rampant. Ultimately, the team dealt away Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. but kept Julius Randle, who arguably was the most-mentioned player in trade speculation.
Randle has played very well since moving into the starting lineup after some struggles early on. It was no secret that the constant rumors surrounding the Lakers were bothering the team, Randle included, but eventually they group managed to get past it and began playing their best basketball of the season.
Before his future, for the remainder of this season at least, was secure, Randle spoke with ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk and made it clear that he would prefer to remain with the Lakers moving forward:
“I love it here, I love my coaching staff, you know, Luke has been great for me, the assistant coaches, I love my teammates here, so I would love to stay here and finish the season,” Randle said. “We’ve got something good going right now. We’re growing. But regardless, you’ve got to understand it’s a business. And the front office is going to do what they feel like is best for them. Regardless of what happens, I have had a great time here, but I would love to stay. Regardless, it doesn’t matter [because it is out of my control].”
Randle got his wish as he will remain with the Lakers, at least for the next six weeks. He is still a restricted free agent this summer, so the team will have to decide whether they want to commit to him long-term.
There is no doubt that the Lakers’ success in convincing a big name to join them this summer will play a big role in what happens to Randle. As it stands now, Randle will have the opportunity to continue to show why he is worth keeping around in Los Angeles.
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