The Los Angeles Lakers are in the same position the Philadelphia 76ers were in earlier this season. With a young lineup full of potential, the Lakers must find a spot for their post players. With trade rumors circulating that the Lakers’ brass will seek potential trade partners for Julius Randle, one has to wonder if they’re doing the right thing.
Kyle Kuzma has been on fire early in his rookie season with averages of 16 points and 5.8 rebounds. However, it’s been Randle who has held the Lakers down lately. Even with his explosion of late, the Lakers still seem content on moving Randle (14 points, 7.3 rebounds), but why? What will they benefit from moving the player who has the potential to be the next Al Horford? The Lakers could be scared of what Randle might command once he becomes a free agent in 2018, but why risk messing with chemistry and overpaying another player when the talent you need is right under your nose?
The Lakers are seeking a first-round pick for Randle, according to Bleacher Report, but that does not guarantee success. Kuzma was a luck of the draw, but he’s falling off of late. Maybe it’s the rookie wall or he’s just struggling, but what if he’s already reached his ceiling? The Lakers will be in need of a center after this season if they do not re-sign Brook Lopez. Letting Lopez go will be best for both parties, as Brook has not fit in with the team and the Lakers will not want to sign Lopez for the money he might demand on the open market. Their best option will be to keep Randle and plug him in at center.
A move like this keeps Kuzma on the floor and gives Brandon Ingram more room to operate. Lopez’s numbers (12 points, 3.8 rebounds) are down this season after averaging 20.5 points and 5.4 rebounds in 2016. Randle is quicker and makes better decisions with the ball. With the Lakers looking to run more, this is the one area when Luke Walton must teach ball movement if he has visions of making the Lakers in the image of the Golden State Warriors.
With his recent play, Randle will be a hot target over the next week. However, the Lakers would be wise to hold on to him instead of paying a high-priced star an obscene amount of money and one who may or may not click with this current group of Lakers.