Los Angeles Lakers forward Julius Randle was likely an afterthought to stay in the City of Angels with the expected frenzy of a free agency this summer. The Lakers have done everything in their power to clear enough cap space to sign the likes of LeBron James and Paul George in hopes of reviving the Showtime spirit in Lakerland.
Yet, Randle's play has made the team second-guess letting him go in the offseason, making him potentially the team's next priority after securing meetings with James and George, according to Bleacher Report's Eric Pincus.
“The Lakers had the opportunity to lock in Randle before the season on an extension starting at $12.4 million, the amount of his cap hold, according to a person privy to the stalled negotiations.
The team wasn't ready to commit to Randle over the possibility of landing two stars this summer.”
This has changed tremendously as Randle started his season on the bench and later regained his rightful spot as the starting power forward. He now holds averages of 16.2 points and 8.0 rebounds per game — proving ultimately efficient, shooting a career-best 56.3 percent from the floor in fewer minutes per game than his previous two seasons.
The Lakers can make Randle a restricted free agent with a $5.6 million qualifying offer, but if they do, it'll take up a total $12.4 million of the team's cap space in July — which could play a major factor when discussing contracts with James and George.
While the 6-foot-9 power forward is free to sign an offer sheet with another team, the Lakers will have a 48-hour window to match it, which won't start until the end of the NBA's moratorium on July 8 — a time in which they'll be forced to decide if they're willing to keep him or not.