The Los Angeles Lakers will have to make a decision on re-signing Julius Randle this July. That decision, however, will have to come with several others as the team looks to sign multiple star free agents to add to its young core.
The lack of direction could be an interesting detail in what should be a busy offseason for the Lakers. As it stands, it is already being used as a bargaining chip by Randle’s representation.
Following via the LA Times’ Tania Ganguli:
“We still have no indication of where Julius stands among the Lakers’ priorities, or if he is a priority at all,” Randle’s agent Aaron Mintz said Saturday in response to Pelinka’s comments. “We are looking forward to the marketplace in July, when we will get a clear picture of Julius’ future.”
Mintz’s statement somewhat contradicts what general manager Rob Pelinka recently stated about a mutual interest in keeping Randle in LA.
However, this is the time for both sides to gain some leverage and Randle will be a coveted free agent even if the market is somewhat scarce this summer. Mintz has every right to keep his cards close to his chest and make sure the Lakers know that Randle will look at other offers and he should do that.
This could be a long summer in terms of negotiations between the Lakers and Randle. But given that the big man is a restricted free agent, the Lakers will be able to match any offer given to him. That comes with the risk of limiting cap space to sign the likes of Paul George (who Mintz also represents) and LeBron James but it is an important tool for the Lakers to hold in their back pocket.