Lakers Free Agency News: Julius Randle Removed Emotion Over Not Receiving Contract Extension
Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Julius Randle had somewhat of a roller coaster ride for the Los Angeles Lakers this season. Despite starting only 49 of 82 games, Randle was able to finish the season with career-highs across the board, making his impending free agency all the more interesting.

The big story of last summer was whether or not the Lakers would extend Randle’s rookie contract, giving him another four years with the team. With grand visions of luring a superstar free agent or two to Los Angeles this offseason, they declined to ink Randle to an extension.

So, Randle was thrust into a contract year in just his third full NBA season. Now after a career year, multiple teams, perhaps most notably the Dallas Mavericks, are reportedly lining up at the chance to sign Randle.

Recently, Randle was a guest on “The Woj Pod” where he was asked whether or not all the talk of a contract extension frustrated him during the 2017-18 season, leading to a well put response from the young star:

“I felt like I really had no choice but to separate it. I think, what, the extension has to be done the day before the season? I don’t remember. But I really didn’t have a choice. I would say I had to focus on what I could control. I couldn’t control not getting an extension or whatever happened throughout the year, coming off the bench or whatever, just control what I could. That’s my preparation, the work that I put in, my focus, my intensity, my energy, all those things I can control. I knew I put in the work, so it was just a matter of time before everything lined up. I just felt like I’m in a better position anyway this summer than trying to work out an extension last summer.”

The Lakers obviously have numerous personnel decisions to make this summer, including the chase for big name free agents like Paul George and Lebron James. However, through all of this, Randle remains unfazed by the talk and instead wants to focus on himself and his game.

Randle also dismissed the notion that the Lakers locker room was negatively impacted by persistent trade and free agency rumors throughout the season.

For now, it’s impossible to tell whether or not Randle remains a part of the long term plans for president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka. What is clear is that Randle will continue to be a mature presence off the court, and hopefully will remain a dominating one on the court.

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