Julius Randle is set to hit restricted free agency this coming offseason and the Los Angeles Lakers will have a big decision to make on one of their top young talents. Magic Johnson would like to open up enough room for two max contracts, but doing so would mean that the Lakers would have to let Randle sign elsewhere.
If the Lakers do let Randle walk, he will be a player of major interest to quite a few teams.
Bleacher Report recently wrote an article projecting the best landing spots for the top free agents this offseason. In that article, the Chicago Bulls were listed as the best free agency fit for Randle.
“Lauri Markkanen will have to develop into a viable option at center — not a problem at all on offense but a challenge on the other end. The guy is a legitimate 7-footer, though, and Markkanen’s tools — good mobility, a competitive streak and a frame that’ll support more bulk — suggest it’s not unreasonable to view him as a future full-time 5. If that happens, imagine the synergy between Randle’s attack-mode playmaking and Markkanen’s floor-spacing gravity.”
During the 2017-18 season with the Lakers, Randle started putting everything together. He averaged 16.1 points per game, while also chipping in 8.0 rebounds and 2.6 assists. Randle shot 55.8 percent from the field and received quite a few comparisons to Golden State Warriors’ star Draymond Green.
The 23-year-old power forward is without question one of the most talented players available in free agency this offseason. Chicago is expected to pursue talent this offseason and Randle would be a major upgrade for the Bulls both now and in the long-term picture.
Other potential landing spots for Randle that have been mentioned are the Indiana Pacers, Dallas Mavericks, and Sacramento Kings. There are more than just those four teams that will show interest in Randle.
All of that being said, free agency is going to be entertaining this offseason. LeBron James and Paul George are just two of the headline names, while Kawhi Leonard is also expected to be shopped in trade talks.
Chicago certainly could make a run, but they may want to wait until the 2019 free agency class hits the market. Randle would likely be the best fit for the Bulls this offseason, although Aaron Gordon, who is also a restricted free agent, would make a lot of sense as well.
Expect to hear Randle’s name mentioned in a lot of rumors this coming offseason. He may not end up leaving the Lakers when everything is said and done, but Chicago is one of the teams to watch.