The Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly entering the offseason having the highest salary cap space among the NBA’s 30 teams, which would be enough to sign both LeBron James and Paul George. However, pulling off that dream would cost the team even more as they may also have to let go of incoming restricted free agent Julius Randle.
Several other teams are rumored to be interested in signing the former Kentucky Wildcats star, and one of them is the up-and-coming Western Conference contender Utah Jazz. According to LA Sports Hub’s Jason Reed, Randle may end up forming a new Big Three in Utah next season with Rookie of the Year candidate Donovan Mitchell and last season’s NBA blocks leader Rudy Gobert.
Reed said that a young trio of Randle, 23, Mitchell, 21, and Gobert, 25, “would be terrifying” for opposing teams as each one could provide a unique strength for head coach Quin Snyder for years to come.
“Gobert would clean up the glass and be the premier shot blocker while Randle would be the go-to option off of pick and rolls. The physicality of Randle mixed with the size of Gobert and the scoring ability of Mitchell would mesh together perfectly.”
Randle has been the Lakers’ best player this season as he finished the year leading the team in points (16.1) and rebounds (8.0) while also averaging 2.6 assists a night. His point production was a career-high for the fourth-year player as he was simply unstoppable from the field, shooting a remarkable 55.8 percent in 2017-2018. Indeed, the Lakers take a high risk in giving up Randle for a chance to acquire the superstars they want this summer.
According to reports, Mitchell is considered as one of the top Rookie of the Year contenders this season, together with the Philadelphia 76ers’ Ben Simmons. Some analysts even say that the two should be awarded as co-winners for the prestigious accolade. The 13th overall pick of last year’s draft averaged 20.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 1.5 steals in 33.4 minutes per game in 79 games for the Jazz during the regular season.
Meanwhile, Gobert is third in the league when it comes to blocked shots this season, averaging 2.3 per game, with only New Orleans’ Anthony Davis (2.57) and New York’s Kristaps Porzingis (2.4) ahead of him. The 7-foot-1 Frenchman also averaged a double-double for Utah in the regular season with 13.5 points and 10.7 boards along with 1.4 assists a night.
Reed noted that the Jazz does not have enough cap space to give Randle a bigger offer than the Lakers or his hometown squad Dallas Mavericks. However, Snyder and company would provide him a better chance to “contend in the tough Western Conference” moving forward, the reporter said.