Heading into free agency one of the more compelling storylines the Los Angeles Lakers faced was with Julius Randle. As expected, they extended him the qualifying offer to make Randle a restricted free agent.
That ensured the Lakers reserved the right to match any offer sheet Randle would potentially sign with another team. But his market of suitors seemingly dwindled within minutes of free agency beginning.
While there was much activity for the 23-year-old, the Lakers renounced Randle’s rights on Monday afternoon, making him an unrestricted free agent.
He’s since gone on to agree to a two-year contract with the New Orleans Pelicans, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski:
Free agent Julius Randle has agreed to a two-year, $18M deal with New Orleans, league sources tell ESPN. Player option second year.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 2, 2018
The Dallas Mavericks, once considered the Lakers’ biggest threat for Randle, focused in on DeAndre Jordan prior to and after the center opted out of the final year of his contract. The Brooklyn Nets were also speculated as a possible landing spot.
During his exit interview, Randle said he hoped to remain with the Lakers, and that was a sentiment head coach Luke Walton echoed.
Coming off a summer in which he transformed his body, Randle appeared in all 82 games this past season, including 49 starts, and averaged 16.1 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.6 assists.
Randle agreeing to join the Pelicans comes on the same day as Rajon Rondo making the jump to the Lakers on a one-year contract.
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