Julius Randle has produced in every role the Los Angeles Lakers have asked him to fill. His reward: Being the center of trade rumors for the entirety of his final season under contract with the organization that drafted him seventh overall four years ago.
Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka are looking to inject the roster with immediate star power in the upcoming offseason at all costs, and Randle would be just the latest victim in this venture.
D’Angelo Russell has already been sacrificed to move Timofey Mozgov’s contract. Another part (or pieces) of the young core Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss built will probably serve as bait to take Luol Deng. We’ll have to see how that trade looks, but as of now Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN expressed in very clear terms Randle’s time in L.A. almost up.
The abbreviated version:
Woj says the Lakers are “working on multiple contingencies for 2018 free agency.
They’re trying to create either one or two max slots.
He says Julius Randle is “very unlikely” to continue with the Lakers.
— Anthony F. Irwin (@AnthonyIrwinLA) November 9, 2017
And here’s the video for full context:
— Lakers Outsiders (@LakersOutsiders) November 9, 2017
Look, if everything works out and LeBron James, Paul George and whoever else contend for titles as early as next season, great. But it’s also worth noting how huge a gamble this, combined with the Russell trade is for an organization that is just now coming back from their last all-in bid.