Julius Randle will have a tough decision to make this summer. The Los Angeles Lakers big man will be facing free agency for the first time in his career. While the market is scarce with few teams holding significant amounts of cap space, Randle is expected to have suitors after a breakout season in the purple and gold.
On Monday, Randle appeared on ESPN’s Woj Pod with Adrian Wojnarowski and detailed his strategy in approaching free agency and his attachment to the Lakers.
“I try to separate emotions from business. I know sometimes they go hand in hand, like if you spent four years in a place that drafted you, it kind of goes hand in hand, but honestly I’m just so focused on my craft and continuing to get better as a player. It’s an exciting time to be a free agent, even though I’m restricted, it’s an exciting time but I think what’s even more exciting for me is the opportunity to get better and build off of this year. So it might be an emotional time, I don’t know. I’ve never been through this process before but I try to separate both of them and really just enjoy the whole process of things. Educate myself, my team, my agent, everybody has really done a great job on just educating me on the whole thing. So I feel like I’m prepared.”
While Randle maintains that he’s keeping emotions out of his decision, he did include that it would be preferential for him to stay in LA given his career there thus far:
“That’d be really cool. I feel like I’ve been the start of the rebuilding process with the Lakers. I was the first lottery pick when they started getting lottery picks and all that stuff. It would be cool, but for me I just can’t really sit and imagine things. You have dreams, you write your goals down and whatever it is, but for me I just keep my head in the work.”
Finally, the Kentucky product spoke about his excitement towards free agency, comparing it to his recruiting process out of high school:
“It was fun for me because it was something that you waited on for four years. I always watched college basketball growing up a fan, so it was like for me, I finally get to pick the college that I’m going to. This is something that I dreamed of. All of the letters, all of the meetings, all of the visits. I get to be a part of that atmosphere, so for me, it was really exciting. This is a lot different I feel like … I’m restricted … This is a lot different. It’s still the same joy and I would say the same fun and excitement. Not a lot of nervousness or worry. In my position, I’m just having fun with it.”
“During the season I couldn’t really do it. I was so tunnel vision on what I needed to do to help my team win games and put myself in the best position, so I couldn’t really focus on that. Now that it’s free agency, I guess you kind of have to look at certain situations. I don’t know what’s going to happen, like I said this is my first time. As far as fits, I don’t know man, I don’t have any Woj bombs for you.”
There’s no telling what Randle’s future holds. There appears to be mutual interest in re-signing with the Lakers but the big man will certainly field offers from other teams as he waits on the Lakers’ other decisions to come to fruition.