The Los Angeles Lakers have big plans this summer, with a focus on signing a marquee free agent such as LeBron James and/or Paul George. The other intriguing piece for the Lakers is one of their own in Julius Randle.
Randle is a restricted free agent this offseason and it is unclear whether the Lakers will re-sign him. Randle’s agent said the Lakers haven’t made it clear if he’s a priority for them, but general manager Rob Pelinka indicated otherwise.
Pelinka said he has been in touch with Randle’s representatives and stressed that the Lakers front office won’t go into negotiations with a set number they won’t cross to re-sign Randle, per Tania Ganguli of the L.A. Times:
“I think going into a process with kind of a position of entrenchment or here’s the thin red line that we will not cross isn’t necessarily the best way to approach something with an open-mindedness,” Pelinka said. “I think any negotiation is between two sides. Ultimately you’re hoping to find a partnership.”
Pelinka makes a good point about remaining open-minded when going into negotiations. This doesn’t suggest that the Lakers will be signing Randle to a max-contract, but going into it with a refusal to cross certain lines could close up lots of possibilities.
The good news for the Lakers is that they will have the ability to match any contract offer Randle receives since he is a restricted free agent. The Dallas Mavericks are believed to be a serious suitor for him, and Randle is from Texas, so they will be a team to watch.
In an ideal world the Lakers would probably want to get decisions from George and James before focusing on Randle, but things don’t always work out that way. Randle has said that he wants to play on a competitive team next year, and the Lakers undoubtedly on that path.
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