Julius Randle has been one of the Lakers’ brightest stars this year. Though, the power forward hasn’t been exempt from constant trade rumors that threaten his future with the organization. Like many players, Randle has tuned out most of the free agency chatter. In fact, he says that he is numb to it all.
“Oh, man, it came to a certain point where I was just numb to it,” the 23-year-old power forward told ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk.
Randle is making it hard for the Lakers this season. Since becoming a starter in Dec. 29, Randle has played well, scoring 18.6 points, 9.2 rebounds, and shooting 57 percent from the field.
After the Lakers cleared up two max contract slots in their cap this year, the team has made it known that they want to pursue quality free agents this year. This could make it impossible for the Lakers to extend a qualifying offer to Randle who can become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Lakers head coach Luke Walton acknowledged Randle’s amazing play and commented that Randle should strive to prove the Lakers management wrong with his play, especially since the Lakers didn’t offer him an extension.
“You didn’t get an extension, go prove to us that we were wrong,” Walton said. “It is not that we don’t want you. That is not it at all. Play with that chip on your shoulder. So it was more along the lines of using anything that happens in life, whether it is the contract extension or people who don’t believe, use that as motivation to become better.”
This will definitely be an interesting offseason for the Lakers who have to choose between pursuing free agents or extending an offer to Randle, currently having the best season of his career. The decision is up to the Lakers.