Luke Walton on Julius Randle’s free agency: “I would love to have him back”

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Orlando Magic
Jan 31, 2018; Orlando, FL, USA; Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton and forward Julius Randle (30) talk against the Orlando Magic during the second quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Among the biggest storylines of the Los Angeles Lakers’ offseason is Julius Randle’s free agency. Previously viewed as a necessary cap casualty in the Lakers’ plan to bring in two star free agents, Randle played his way into making that an extremely difficult conversation.

Randle is set to hit restricted free agency in July, where he can sign an offer sheet with any team before the Lakers must decide whether they want to match it and keep the young big man.

On Friday, head coach Luke Walton did his part in endorsing Randle’s return to the squad, citing his importance to what was an ultimately successful season for the purple and gold:

Walton did mention that there were other circumstances that the Lakers must consider before coming to a decision. However, given Walton and Randle’s sometimes rocky relationship, the endorsement from the head coach could go a long way in keeping Randle in Southern California.

For his part, Randle spoke on Thursday about his desire to stay with the Lakers long-term.

Free agency is still a long time away and things can change in an instant. But right now, it seems like the Lakers and Julius Randle are headed towards a long-term agreement.

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