Sidelines with John Clay

LeBron James deal brings Julius Randle's future with Lakers into question

A restricted free agent, Julius Randle received a qualifying offer from the Los Angeles Lakers. With LeBron James agreeing to join the franchise, however, Randle's future as a Laker is now a question mark.
A restricted free agent, Julius Randle received a qualifying offer from the Los Angeles Lakers. With LeBron James agreeing to join the franchise, however, Randle's future as a Laker is now a question mark. Associated Press

LeBron James is a Laker. The announcement came Sunday night from James' agent that LeBron is taking his talents to Los Angeles after a three-hour sit-down with Magic Johnson in which the two sides agreed on a four-year, $145 million deal.

"The King is coming. The Court will be named later," wrote Mark Whicker of the Orange County Register.

Next question: Will Julius Randle still be a Laker?

The former Kentucky star was picked seventh overall by the Lakers in the 2014 NBA Draft after leading UK to the national championship game, where the Cats lost to Connecticut. He averaged a career-high 16.1 points and eight rebounds last season as the franchise missed the playoffs for a fifth consecutive year. Lakers Coach Luke Walton began the season bringing Randle off the bench, starting him in just 49 of 82 games.

As a restricted free agent, Randle received a $5.6 million qualifying offer from the Lakers last week. If he signs an offer sheet with another team, the Lakers have 48 hours to match the offer.

David Aldridge of claims that Randle no longer wants to be a Laker.

"Julius Randle has made it clear that I don't think he really wants to be back there," Aldridge said, "so are you putting money into a guy that doesn't really want to be back there?"

[Enforcer on the court, Julius Randle is a gentle giant elsewhere]

Randle is represented by Aaron Mintz, who is also the agent for Paul George. After indicating he would like to play in Los Angeles, George elected to stay with Oklahoma City.

Dallas was considered a possible landing spot for Randle in what would be a homecoming for the former Plano high school star, but the Mavericks signed DeAndre Jordan to a a one-year, $24.1 million deal.

And the Nets agreed to a two-year, $16 million deal with Joe Harris just when Randle was being mentioned as a possibility in Brooklyn.

And the Lakers didn't just win the LeBron sweepstakes on Sunday. They agreed to one-year deals with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($12 million), Lance Stephenson ($4.4 million) and JaVale McGee ($2.4 million).

Then there's Kawhi Leonard, who according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, still wants to be a Laker. Los Angeles would have to trade for the Spurs' star, who is not yet a free agent.

Bobby Marks, former Nets VP who now works for ESPN, tweeted Sunday that the Lakers still have a $12.4 million cap hold on Randle. If they renounce that hold, they would have $25 million to spend on another free agent.

[Clippers-Wizards trade should please pair of former Kentucky point guards]

Wrote Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times: "Though it’s much more attractive to imagine James playing alongside Leonard, one can also imagine the benefits of him working with a stronger Brandon Ingram, a more experienced Kyle Kuzma and maybe even a healthy Lonzo Ball. If the Lakers re-sign Julius Randle, he can provide the tough cover that James covets."

As for DeMarcus Cousins joining the Lakers, that doesn't look to be a long shot.

As it stands right now, here is the Lakers' roster:

  • LeBron James

  • Lonzo Ball

  • Lance Stephenson

  • Julius Randle

  • JaVale McGee

  • Isaiah Thomas

  • Josh Hart

  • Brandon Ingram

  • Kyle Kuzma

  • Brook Lopez

  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

NBA 2018 draft first round

1PhoenixDeandre AytonPhoenix
2SacramentoMarvin BagleyDuke
3Dallas (trade)Luka DoncicSlovenia
4MemphisJaren JacksonMichigan State
5Atlanta (trade)Trae YoungOklahoma
6OrlandoMohamed BambaTexas
7ChicagoWendell Carter Jr.Chicago
8ClevelandCollin SextonAlabama
9New YorkKevin KnoxKentucky
10Phoenix (trade)Mikal BridgesVillanova
11LA Clippers (trade)Shai Gilgeous-AlexanderKentucky
12Charlotte (trade)Miles BridgesMichigan State
13LA ClippersJerome RobinsonBoston College
14DenverMichael Porter Jr.Missouri
15WashingtonTroy BrownOregon
16Philadelphia (trade)Zhaire SmithTexas Tech
17MilwaukeeDonte DiVincenzoVillanova
18San AntonioLonnie WalkerMiami
19AtlantaKevin HuerterMaryland
20MinnesotaJosh OkogieGeorgia Tech
21UtahGrayson AllenDuke
22ChicagoChandler HutchisonBoise State
23IndianaAaron HolidayUCLA
24PortlandAnfernee Simons

25LA LakersMoritz WagnerMichigan
26PhiladelphiaLandry ShametWichita State
27BostonRobert WilliamsTexas A&M
28Golden StateJacob EvansCincinnati
29BrooklynDzanan MusaBosnia
30AtlantaOmari SpellmanVillanova
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