Heading into free agency, the Los Angeles Lakers will have options for the first time since starting the rebuilding process. As president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka are in pursuit of two max-contract players, Julius Randle is set to become a restricted free agent.
Although it appeared Randle was not going to be a part of the team’s future, he had the best season of his young career. Playing all 82 games including just 49 starts, the 23-year-old averaged 16.1 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 2.6 assists in 26.7 minutes.
Despite the Lakers being able to match all offers in restricted free agency, the Dallas Mavericks are still expected to pursue Randle, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer:
The Mavericks can create space to sign a max free agent, and multiple league sources expect them to pursue a trio of big men: DeAndre Jordan, DeMarcus Cousins, and restricted free agent Julius Randle.
As Randle is from Texas, he is considered a fit as the Mavericks try to establish a young core, which currently features Dennis Smith Jr.:
Randle and Jordan are both Texas natives. Randle fits the timeline of Dallas’s young roster, while Jordan could finally get a glimpse at what he missed out on after backing out of a deal with the Mavs in the summer of 2015.
This is not the first time Dallas has been linked to Randle as they were reportedly focused on him at the trade deadline. After he averaged 21.8 points, 11.5 rebounds, and 5.3 assists in four games against them, head coach Rick Carlisle and players had high praise for the fourth-year forward.
As it currently stands, Randle’s agent Aaron Mintz says he and his client do not have a clear understanding of the Lakers’ positioning. However, Pelinka maintains the team’s front office is constantly in touch with Randle’s representative as July 1 approaches.