The Los Angeles Lakers made several additions this offseason, with the biggest one obviously being the signing of LeBron James. However, the Lakers also lost a big part of their success last season in Julius Randle, who is now with the New Orleans Pelicans.
Arguably the Lakers’ best player last season, Randle was a restricted free agent heading into the summer. With the two sides unable to come to an agreement, Randle asked for the Lakers to rescind their qualifying offer, allowing him to be an unrestricted free agent, and they obliged.
Randle quickly signed with Pelicans, which came on the heels of the Lakers agreeing to terms with veteran point guard Rajon Rondo.
At his introductory press conference with New Orleans, Randle reflected on his time with the Lakers and coming to the decision to ultimately move on:
“I don’t know if it’s really tough. Obviously, it was a great four years for me there. My family and I really enjoyed it. I got better as a player, I learned a lot as a person. For me, I’m just looking towards the future.”
Randle’s future is definitely bright, especially teaming up with a superstar like Anthony Davis in New Orleans. Randle got better every year in Los Angeles, but unfortunately the two sides just couldn’t come together on a deal.
The Lakers continue to value salary cap space for the summer of 2019 when the likes of Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, Klay Thompson, and Kyrie Irving will be free agents. Randle was looking for more long-term security while the Lakers were unwilling to sacrifice their long-term cap space.
It was an impasse the two teams were unable to get past and forced them so split up. Regardless, the Lakers are on the road back to contention while Randle focuses on a new beginning with the Pelicans. Both sides are looking forward to the road ahead.
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