As the Los Angeles Lakers are preparing for the 2018 NBA Draft and free agency, president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka face a much tougher decision than they had anticipated before the 2017-18 NBA season.
Following Julius Randle’s career year, he is set to become a restricted free agent where the Lakers can match any offers within two days. While it would usually be a no-brainer to re-sign the team’s No. 7 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the reality is the Lakers have created cap space to sign two max-contract players.
With Randle’s uncertain future in Los Angeles, he has been linked with his hometown Dallas Mavericks.
Although the 23-year-old remains a potential target, he may not be the team’s top priority heading into free agency on July 1, according to Mike Fisher of 247Sports:
The national media is simply badminton’ing back to you information you already had. … and I’ll repeat here for the record, an example: Julius Randle might end up being a Dallas target, but I’m told the Mavs are aiming “much higher” than that.
As Dallas has also been linked to DeMarcus Cousins and DeAndre Jordan, this would bode well for Los Angeles in terms of timing.
It would ideally give Johnson and Pelinka time to pursue LeBron James and Paul George without an offer sheet from the Mavericks at the beginning of free agency. In a scenario where one or zero All-Star players ultimately sign, the Lakers would then be able to re-sign Randle.
With only a few teams that have cap space and are in need of a power forward/center this offseason, it will be interesting to see how free agency shakes out. As Randle officially started the Lakers rebuilding process four seasons ago, he wants to see it through and be a part of the team’s future success.
As part of our efforts to help you understand how we handle the personal information you share with us, and in preparation for the new European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), we’ve updated our Privacy & Cookies Policy. The updated Privacy & Cookies Policy will take effect on May 22, 2018. By using our services on or after that date, you’ll be agreeing to our updated Privacy & Cookies Policy. We recommend that you read our updated Privacy & Cookies Policy in full.