The NBA rumors are growing around the Los Angeles Lakers, with talk that Julius Randle could be on the trade block as the team tidies up and prepares to make a run at LeBron James this offseason.
It has been something of an open secret that James does not plan a long career with the Cleveland Cavaliers, with reports dating back to last year that he was preparing to make a move to Los Angeles, where he already owns a home in the offseason. The Lakers and Clippers have both been mentioned at times, and now it appears that the Lakers may be starting to lay the groundwork to make the move happen.
Former No. 7 overall pick Julius Randle is showing improvement this season — averaging 13.2 points and 8.6 rebounds per game this year — but is part of a crowded frontcourt that includes Larry Nance Jr. and Kyle Kuzma. That has led to rumors that Randle could be on the trade block, especially if the Lakers plan to go after LeBron James.
“If LeBron James or Paul George joins, they too might take the starting spot for power forward,” Clutch Points noted. “That means there is real competition at this position.”
Despite his steady improvement and elevation to sixth man, Julius Randle does not seem to play too much into the Lakers’ future plans. He is still averaging just a shade over 20 minutes a game, eighth most on the team.
Many are taking notice of Randle’s limited role. Brian Kamenetzky, writer and radio host on ESPNLA 710, tweeted that Randle is clearly “outplaying his time” and that the Lakers need to find more time for him on the floor.
The FanSided blog LakerShowLife noted that it seems clear Julius Randle is not figuring into the team’s long-term plans, and that the Lakers could soon have him on the trade block. Randle was already rumored to be part of a package last year when the Lakers were exploring the idea of trading up to the No. 1 overall draft pick, which would have landed them Markelle Fultz.
While the trade rumors surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers are starting already, there may be no rush to move Julius Randle. The team still has more than four months until the trade deadline and could still move the talented forward into a bigger role, especially if they are hit with injuries.
But as long as Julius Randle is putting up big numbers and playing few minutes, the trade rumors around the Los Angeles Lakers are likely to persist.
[Featured Image by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images]