Lakers Rumors: LA Hoping to Retain Julius Randle After Signing LeBron James

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJuly 2, 2018

Los Angeles Lakers forward Julius Randle (30) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles Wednesday, April 4, 2018. The Lakers won in overtime 122-112. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
Reed Saxon/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Lakers and free-agent forward Julius Randle are scheduled to meet Monday to discuss a potential contract.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports reported Randle "has excitement" about returning to the Lakers after the team signed LeBron James.

Randle, 23, is a restricted free agent, so the Lakers have matching rights to any offer sheet he could sign with another team. He is coming off by far the best season of his career, averaging 16.1 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game in 2017-18.

James announced he was joining the Lakers in a statement released Sunday night. His four-year contract, along with deals for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Lance Stephenson, will take up all of the Lakers' tangible cap space.

The Lakers can go over the cap to sign Randle. What type of deal he ultimately inks will be interesting. The Lakers could try to coax Randle into taking something like a one-year contract at the max. That would allow him to re-enter free agency unrestricted in 2019 when the cap is booming while giving the Lakers long-term flexibility.

The Lakers are almost certainly planning on bringing in starrier names to play next to LeBron; Kawhi Leonard can be a free agent in 2019 and has already expressed his desire to leave San Antonio. If the Lakers are unable to trade for Leonard this summer, they're going to want as much cap space as possible to pursue him in free agency next year.

Signing Randle to a one-year deal would, however, give him a no-trade clause under the collective bargaining agreement. That might not be as attractive for the Lakers if they were potentially looking to package Randle in a larger trade down the line.