Los Angeles Lakers: The Ultimate Guide to the 2018 Offseason

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Julius Randle Media Day 2018
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The Impending Julius Randle Free Agency

Everything in this year’s offseason centers around Julius Randle. After a rough start to the year, he emerged as Walton’s best weapon and the best player on the 2017-18 Lakers. Whether the Lakers decide to keep him or not is a franchise-changing decision.

Management should keep Randle for the long-term future. While many of the players who knew that they were expandable (Clarkson, Nance, etc.) went through the season nonchalant, Randle viewed his trade value as an insult. Inconsistencies and injuries set in for the beginning of the season, but Randle never looked back.

Since the All-Star Break, he averaged 20.2 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game on 55 percent from the field. Then again, the players he has been similar to in his first four years come with the likes of Darrell Arthur and Solomon Hill. He was injured his rookie season, so that probably dictated the statistic reference for the similarity issue.

Randle still has many noticeable holes in his game. The league considers him to be a traditional back-to-the-basket four. Randle is far too inconsistent to shoot from downtown or the mid-range area. His one-on-one defense improved this season. Again, Joel Embiid was the prime benefactor of his post defense, which also needs work.

Randle’s market value will fluctuate depending on the team who offers him. Los Angeles is set on bringing superstar talent. Whether that means the Nets offering him a 4 year, $100 million contract like they did with Otto Porter could change his outcome. He has earned a contract extension, but L.A. should be wary that his improved play could just be another way for him to slack off in years’ past.

While the Lakers should not take Randle for granted, they need to make sure they have as much flexibility as possible. Their chase for a superstar might harm them in this situation. If the said superstar cannot be accommodated by Magic’s services, Randle’s agent, Aaron Mintz, might have an offer sheet the Lakers can ill afford.