Julius Randle’s time with the Los Angeles Lakers is coming to an end. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the former Lakers forward will be heading to the big easy to play for the New Orleans Pelicans.
Randle was signed to a two-year deal for a reported $18 million with a player option on the second year.
Randle spent four seasons in Los Angeles after being drafted with the seventh overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. After a rookie season that ended with a broken leg in his first NBA game, Randle steadily improved to become a positive difference maker. In his breakout fourth season, Randle averaged 16.1 points and eight rebounds per game with a career-high field goal percentage of 55.8 percent. Randle also showcased much improved defensive chops.
In the end, Randle’s role moving forward with a team now equipped with LeBron James was uncertain and he wanted a long-term commitment from LA. While the front office made it clear that they wanted the 23-year-old back, it was not immediately clear how much of a priority he was for a team chasing LeBron James, Paul George, and Kawhi Leonard. Randle was also adamant that he wanted to be back in Los Angeles following the end of the season.
Randle will now have a new opportunity to continue his success in a new situation, hoping to prove that his improvements last season were not a product of it being a contract year and be a huge piece for a potential playoff team.