The Los Angeles Lakers schedule for the 2018-19 NBA season was officially unveiled, and it revealed Julius Randle and the New Orleans Pelicans will make the first of two visits to Staples Center on Friday, Dec. 21.
The game is also Randle’s first against the Lakers since signing with the Pelicans in free agency. The two teams also meet Feb. 23 (New Orleans), Feb. 27 (Los Angeles) and March 31 (New Orleans).
Randle is coming off a career year and one in which many believed would net him a long-term contract. The Lakers, as expected, tendered Randle a contract to make him a restricted free agent.
While the Lakers had reported interest, there also didn’t appear to be much motivation to work toward an agreement. Randle reportedly asked to be renounced, had his request honored, and promptly signed with the Pelicans.
His new contract came on the heels of the Lakers agreeing to terms with former Pelicans point guard Rajon Rondo on a one-year deal.
It was a stunning turn of events considering the Lakers did not sign a second star (Paul George) to pair with LeBron James. During their respective exit interviews, head coach Luke Walton and Randle both expressed optimism and hope for a reunion.