Los Angeles Lakers big man Julius Randle is starting to really make waves in the NBA. His career has been something of a roller coaster, with poor performances mixed with flashes of brilliance that provide hope that a bright future lies ahead.
Now in his fourth season with the Lakers (though his first was lost to injury), Randle finds himself playing the best basketball of his career just in time for his rookie contract to expire next summer.
He turned in an impressive performance against the Denver Nuggets on Sunday night, finishing with 24 points, seven rebounds, and five assists in a big win for the Lakers. Afterwards, coach Luke Walton raved about Randle’s performance, via LN’s Serena Winters:
Luke Walton on Julius Randle's game tonight: 'When he plays like he did tonight, he's as good as anyone in this league.'
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) November 20, 2017
While Walton may be overstating things a bit, there is no doubt that Randle possesses immense talent. When he’s on, he can be extremely difficult for opponents to handle thanks to his versatile skill set and physical tools. Randle is an excellent rebounder thanks to his physical strength but also has the ability to attack off the dribble.
For the Lakers, Randle’s contract situation won’t be easy to navigate this year. Assuming they give him a qualifying offer, Randle will be a restricted free agent, but his cap hold will be about $12.5 million, which is money the team will likely need to chase superstar free agents like LeBron James and Paul George next summer.
With that being the case, there has been some speculation that the Lakers will look to trade Randle prior to this season’s deadline rather than let him walk away this summer and receive nothing in return. Of course, that’s just speculation, and if Randle continues to perform like he did against the Nuggets, the Lakers may just decide to keep him.
WANT TO PARTICIPATE IN THE DISCUSSION? CHECK OUT THE NEW LAKERSNATION FORUM CLUB