Once thought to be a castoff, it appears the Los Angeles Lakers may be re-thinking the future of forward Julius Randle.
With Randle in the midst of a breakout and career season, the Lakers may hold on to the young forward through the trade deadline.
From Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports:
There is a growing sense that the Lakers could hold on to Julius Randle through the deadline. Teams’ awareness that the Lakers need to move Randle to clear the cap space to make a run at the top free agents this summer has diminished the market significantly.
The decision is one that most likely comes due to a myriad of factors.
First, the Lakers revealed their plan to open up spots for two max free agents before actually having said space, immediately plummeting the trade value of virtually every asset on the team. With Randle among those thought to be most expendable early in the year, his trade value was likely most directly affected.
Secondly, with Randle being a free agent this summer, a team would essentially be trading for the right to pay Randle in a few months time.
Lastly, but maybe most importantly, has been Randle’s play on the court this season. Arguably the Lakers’ best player all season long, Randle is averaging career highs in points (14.0) and blocks (0.6) while shooting a career-best 55 percent from the field all while anchoring a vastly improved Laker defense.
As the Lakers reportedly have shifted their focus to the summer of 2019, Randle’s future appears to be less in a limbo. Multiple reports from Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne suggest that Randle could be part of the future moving forward in Los Angeles.
With only days until the deadline, we’ll have a more definitive answer of the Lakers’ plans going forward very soon.