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Lakers Rumors: Julius Randle Interests LA If Knicks Trade for Donovan Mitchell

Erin WalshJuly 31, 2022

Mike Stobe/Getty Images

It appears the Los Angeles Lakers are interested in reuniting with a player that last suited up for the franchise in 2018.

NBA insider Marc Stein reported during a Spotify live session on Saturday (h/t Darryn Albert of Larry Brown Sports) that the Purple & Gold may pursue Julius Randle if the New York Knicks land Donovan Mitchell in a trade with the Utah Jazz this summer.

Stein added that the Lakers wouldn't mind taking on the remainder of Randle's four-year, $117 million contract. He is owed $23.7 million in 2022-23 and his salary increases each season until he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2026.

The Lakers selected Randle seventh overall in the 2014 NBA draft. He spent the first four seasons of his career in L.A., showing improvement in each season.

During his final season with the Lakers in 2017-18, Randle averaged 16.1 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 82 games while shooting 55.8 percent from the floor and 22.2 percent from deep.

After his stint with the Lakers, Randle signed a two-year deal with the New Orleans Pelicans, which included a player option for the 2019-20 campaign. He spent the 2018-19 season in New Orleans and declined his player option to become a free agent in 2019-20.

The 27-year-old went on to sign a three-year deal with the Knicks before agreeing to a four-year extension with the franchise in August 2021.

Since leaving the Lakers, Randle has improved his game in all areas. Following an All-NBA 2020-21 season, however, his numbers took a noticeable dip in 2021-22. Randle's 20.1 points, 9.9 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game were all down from the prior season, and his three-point shooting plummeted to 30.8 percent.

Still, Randle heading back to L.A. appears to hinge on the Knicks acquiring Mitchell and, right now, things don't look great as talks between New York and Utah have "stalled out," according to The Athletic and Stadium's Shams Charania.

However, the Knicks are still viewed as the top destination for Mitchell because they can offer the best package of picks and players in exchange for the veteran. So while things may appear bleak right now, they could change as we inch closer to the beginning of the 2022-23 campaign.

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