The Los Angeles Lakers are a team that has been heavily linked to LeBron James ahead of his upcoming NBA free agency. Current Lakers player Julius Randle has also been mentioned quite a bit in terms of being moved off the roster to help make room for LeBron or another top star, such as Paul George. However, there still may exist an outside chance that if LeBron James joins the Lakers, Julius Randle will also still be on the team.
This past Sunday, LeBron and the Cleveland Cavaliers visited the Los Angeles Lakers in an anticipated matchup as L.A. welcomed James. While the NBA All-Star dazzled during the game, Julius Randle helped his team capture a 127-113 victory. Randle was a beast in that game, scoring 36 points while hauling in 14 rebounds and dishing out seven assists in 38 minutes.
While Randle hasn’t necessarily been buying billboards in Los Angeles to advertise to LeBron, he made recent comments regarding “King James.” ESPN reported on the superstar’s situation in Los Angeles and the idea that LeBron James could sign there. When asked about the potential to be on the same team with the NBA superstar, he said it would be “interesting” and brought up his former Lakers teammate.
Randle said in terms of having another superstar player on his team,
“I played with [Kobe Bryant]…. What you learn from Bean as far as mentality and just the little things, his work ethic, I would love to play with Bron and learn the same things.”
“[Learning and soaking in] what makes him so great, what does he do that makes him so great and how does he make everybody else so great. He has made a living off of making teammates better. So you have a guy like that, it makes a lot of things easier, I would say.”
For his career, Randle has averaged 13.2 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game. He’s improved his field goal percentage from 49.1 percent over his career to 56.6 percent for the season, while also moving his scoring average up by over two points. Randle’s rebounding stat is slightly down due to having other players crashing the boards including rookie Lonzo Ball and center Brook Lopez.
So far this month, Randle is averaging 23.5 points a game and 9.3 rebounds along with a 60 percent field goal percentage. The Lakers have been hot during the past 10 games going 8-2, thanks to Randle, among others.
Having LeBron James on any team can potentially improve any of his teammates around him. That could mean more fast break, no-look, and lob passes sent Randle’s way for easier baskets. However, the snag seems to be that Randle is part of the equation that the Lakers will solve to bring someone as pricey as LeBron James onto their roster.
ESPN mentioned that Randle could get a qualifying offer from his current team valued at $5.5 million by June 30. He’ll become a restricted free agent with July 1 the starting date that other teams can try to make him an offer. The Lakers will want to make sure they have the available space to sign a star player who can help compete for a title because that’s what the L.A. franchise is known for. Magic Johnson wants to restore that “Showtime” atmosphere to the Staples Center.
The Los Angeles Lakers could very well be parting ways with their big man in the hopes of attracting one of the league’s marquee stars. That could mean Randle’s dreams of playing on the same squad as a legend like LeBron could be dashed this summer.