Lakers Trade Rumors: Mavericks to 'Focus Efforts' on Julius Randle

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJanuary 31, 2018

Los Angeles Lakers forward Julius Randle (30) celebrates a basket against the Dallas Mavericks in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

The Dallas Mavericks reportedly have their eyes on Los Angeles Lakers power forward Julius Randle.

According to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, the team considers Randle "a preferred target" and "will likely focus efforts in the coming days" to land the 23-year-old.

Moving on from Randle makes plenty of sense for the Lakers as they try to clear salary-cap space this summer in the effort to lure high-priced free agents such as LeBron James and Paul George.

Randle will be a restricted free agent this offseason, and the Lakers are unlikely to retain him. Moving on from his salary, along with players such as Jordan Clarkson ($12.5 million next year, $13.4 million in 2019-20) and Luol Deng (due a total of $36.8 million over the next two years, though the Lakers will likely use the stretch provision on him) will give the Lakers the cap space to make waves in free agency while keeping a young core of Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Ingram intact. 

Randle has improved his trade value over the past month, however, returning to the starting lineup and thriving. In January, he's averaging 15 points and nine rebounds per game, posting seven double-doubles.

For the Mavericks, he could provide the low-post presence and rebounding that Nerlens Noel was expected to add but hasn't. Noel's played just 18 games for the Mavericks this season and remains sidelined with a thumb injury. 

The Mavericks, meanwhile, are one of the NBA's worst rebounding teams, pulling down just 40.6 boards per game, 27th in the league. Randle would give them a major boost in that regard while moving the Lakers one step closer to the cap flexibility they crave.

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