When the Los Angeles Lakers signed LeBron James to a four-year, $154 million deal in free agency, there was an opportunity to re-sign Julius Randle as their next move.
However, the Lakers reportedly never made an offer and Randle’s agent, Aaron Mintz, eventually asked for his client to be renounced. Shortly after, they signed Rajon Rondo.
As Rondo has missed 34 games due to two hand surgeries, Randle is having a career season (21.2 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 3.1 assists) with the New Orleans Pelicans.
And had it been up to head coach Luke Walton and his coaching staff, the 24-year-old would have remained with the Lakers, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN:
Even though the Lakers controlled Randle’s rights as a restricted free agent, L.A. never made an offer to him, sources told ESPN. This despite coach Luke Walton and his staff’s preference to keep Randle, as earlier reported by The Athletic and confirmed by ESPN.
As the former No. 7 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft and prospect who officially started the team’s rebuilding process, Randle experienced his fair share of highs and lows. However, it all came together for Randle during his fourth — and eventually last — season.
Since the Lakers did not sign Paul George with their second max-contract slot, president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka seemed intent on preserving that cap space for 2019 free agency. As a result, the Pelicans signed Randle to a two-year, $18 million deal which included a player option.