Lakers Trade Rumors: Julius Randle, Nerlens Noel Swap Discussed with Mavericks

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistDecember 23, 2017

Los Angeles Lakers forward Julius Randle reacts after making a 3-point basket against the Golden State Warriors during the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Dec. 22, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Lakers reportedly held discussions about sending Julius Randle to the Dallas Mavericks as part of a trade for Nerlens Noel.

Rob Lopez of Def Pen Hoops passed along details from ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski about the potential swap of power forwards:

Rob Lopez @r0bato

Woj says the Lakers and Mavs had some 'initial talks' about a trade involving Julius Randle and Nerlens Noel but nothing came of it. https://t.co/NITf4PTTQs

Randle's role has been reduced in his fourth year with the Lakers. He's playing just 22.4 minutes per game, a drop of more than six minutes from last season. He's averaging 12.5 points and 6.3 rebounds while shooting a career-best 54.5 percent from the floor in that limited action.

The 23-year-old Dallas native is also in the final guaranteed year of his rookie contract. A qualifying offer would cost L.A., which is hoping to make a splash in next offseason's free-agent market, more than $12.4 million against the salary cap for 2018-19, per Spotrac.

In October, Randle said he hasn't focused on his future with his deal set to end and the Lakers seemingly more worried about pursuing Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James and other high-profile names.

"How they value me is how they value me," he told reporters. "I can't really sit here and say what they're trying to do."

Meanwhile, Noel re-signed with the Mavs on a one-year deal in August after getting traded to Dallas from the Philadelphia 76ers in February.

He could benefit from another change of scenery after seeing his minutes drop to a career-low 12.5 per game across 18 appearances this season. The forward is currently sidelined after undergoing thumb surgery in early December, though.

When healthy and in the right system, the 23-year-old University of Kentucky product is a defensive weapon with career averages of 1.5 steals and 1.4 blocks. That would be a welcome addition to a Lakers squad that ranks 27th in scoring defense.

It's unclear whether the sides will revisit trade talks before the February trade deadline.