Lakers Decision To Extend Qualifying Offer To Julius Randle Could Hurt The Pursuit Of LeBron James [Opinion]

The Los Angeles Lakers extend a qualifying offer to forward Julius Randle, but doing so may come at a cost.

Julius Randle dunks.
Jason Miller / Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers extend a qualifying offer to forward Julius Randle, but doing so may come at a cost.

The Los Angeles Lakers’ bid for LeBron James could be in jeopardy after they extended a qualifying offer to forward Julius Randle. The Inquisitr previously reported that the Lakers are on the short list of teams that has a chance at signing LeBron James this offseason. In order to try and put together a strong team around LeBron James, the Lakers need as much salary cap room as they can get. Extending the qualifying offer to Julius Randle could hurt the Lakers’ cause.

The Los Angeles Lakers announced on their team site that they have decided to give Julius Randle the qualifying offer. Randle, an emerging star, will officially be a restricted free agent on July 1.

Julius Randle is free to seek out offers from other NBA teams, nevertheless, the Lakers will have the right to match what offers he receives in free agency. Unfortunately, the Lakers create a cap hold by extending the qualifying offer to Randle.

In order to have a realistic chance at signing LeBron James the Lakers need to have slots for two maximum salaries. One of those salaries would go to a player such as Paul George or Chris Paul, while the second one would go to James. However, the cap hold of Julius Randle could hold things up for the Lakers if they want to sign two of the three superstars.

The Los Angeles Lakers will be saddled with a salary cap figure of nearly $12.5 million. Barring a trade taking place that will shed some money off the Lakers’ books, chances of signing LeBron James along with another marquee free agent are slim.

If LeBron James takes his time to determine his basketball future it will put the Los Angeles Lakers in a considerable bind. Most of the moves the Lakers are attemptimg to conduct are done with LeBron James in mind. Targeting Paul George is just one of the moves the Lakers have been rumored of contemplating.

LeBron James will not sign anywhere without the prospects of joining forces with one of the NBA’s elite superstars. Especially with the Cleveland Cavaliers being less than a month removed from playing in the NBA finals.

LeBron James would be better served staying with the Cavaliers if the Lakers do not sign anyone of significance, who is also established. The Lakers gave themselves some protection in the event that LeBron James, Paul George or Chris Paul do not sign there.

Keeping Julius Randle could be in the cards for the Lakers, but the primary focus must be on LeBron James. The future hall of fame player would instantly make the Lakers a championship contender. Perhaps LeBron James joining the Lakers makes them a better team than the Cavaliers as they are currently constructed, but not having another NBA superstar likely means James will go elsewhere.

LeBron James is all but assurd to eat up a huge chunk of the Los Angeles Lakers’ salary cap if he signs there. For the Lakers to clear the way they will have to concede and renounce Julius Randle’s qualifying offer.

It would also be wise on the Los Angeles Lakers’ part with veteran forward Luol Deng. The Lakers can use the stretch provsion for Deng. That would free up nearly $18 million in cap space for the Lakers.

The stretch provison helps the Lakers in the long run if Julius Randle signs an amenable contract offer, that can be matched. Somehow if the Lakers can have a trio of LeBron James, Paul George or Chris Paul, and Julius Randle, they would be good enough to challenge the a Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference.

For now, Julius Randle’s cap hold will stunt what the Los Angeles Lakers want to do, which is to sign LeBron James.