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#pounditMonday, October 2, 2023

Lakers looking to reunite with unlikely player?

Rob Pelinka at a press conference

Jun 6, 2022; El Segundo, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka speaks before introducing head coach Darvin Ham at UCLA Health Training Center Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers could be bringing back a player who even predates LeBron James’ tenure with the team.

Veteran NBA writer Marc Stein revealed during a Spotify Live session on Saturday that the Lakers might be interested in reuniting with New York Knicks big man Julius Randle.

Stein said that the Lakers may potentially engage the Knicks in a deal for Randle if the Knicks successfully trade for Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell. Stein added that the Lakers would not mind taking on the long-term money that Randle is owed (as transcribed from the Spotify Live session by Lakers Twitter figure @RichStapless).

The 27-year-old Randle was drafted by the Lakers back in 2014 and played the first four seasons of his NBA career with them. Randle developed into a reliable 16-8 player in L.A., but the Lakers let him walk in 2018 free agency, in part to create room for James to sign. Randle would eventually become a 24-10-6 guy in New York, making the All-Star team in 2021.

Granted, there is a strong argument now in the summer of 2022 that Randle is a negative asset. He is owed $117 million over the next four seasons, is an inefficient volume shooter, lacks both size and rim-protecting ability, and has recently faced questions over his maturity level.

That doesn’t exactly sound like the type of player who would help the Lakers at this stage. But for a team that went 33-49 last year and now has a roster that still looks substantially the same, they may be willing to try anything.


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