In a widely anticipated move, the Los Angeles Lakers have made the decision on Wednesday to make a $5.5 million qualifying offer to veteran forward Julius Randle, which effectively makes him a restricted free agent this offseason.
Los Angeles now has the ability to match any offer that is placed on Randle by another team this offseason in free agency that begins July 6. There is no clarity in terms of whether the team plans on keeping him given that their primary focus has shifted toward bringing in major free agents such as LeBron James and Paul George with enough salary cap space to sign two max contract players. This move at least keeps Randle as an option to bring back next season and possibly beyond that.
Randle has spent his first four years with the Lakers where he has developed into a key cog in their young promising core group. He’s coming off his most productive campaign where he averaged a career-high 16.1 points on a career-best 55.8 percent shooting along with 8.0 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per contests while playing 82 games with 49 starts. He was the only player in the league to average at least 16.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 2.5 assists while shooting at 55.5 percent from the field.
He is the first Lakers forward with at least five-career regular season triple-doubles since Pau Gasol (five). Randle scored double figures in 68 games, including 25 games with at least 20 points and one 30-point performance while leading the team in scoring 22 times
The 23-year-old has taken another step forward in his development into becoming a more dependable offensive contributor this past season. He showed more growth in his ability to play more under control while being an effective finisher at the basket. He still has room to improve on his outside shot while sharpening his decision making more with the ball in his hands.
Bob Garcia IV
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