Lakers Rumors: LA Renounces Julius Randle, Makes Him Unrestricted Free Agent

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJuly 2, 2018

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 11:  Julius Randle #30 of the Los Angeles Lakers on the bench in the second half at Staples Center on April 11, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***  Julius Randle
John McCoy/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers reportedly renounced the rights to restricted free agent Julius Randle on Monday, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com, making him an unrestricted free agent.    

By doing so, the Lakers cleared his $12.4 million cap hold off the books, per Spotrac. But the team also gave up the right to match any offers Randle receives in free agency, which adds to the likelihood of him playing elsewhere next season. 

Randle asked for the Lakers to renounce his rights after it was clear his role would change and Los Angeles wasn't going to make a long-term commitment, according to ESPN's Ramona Shelburne

The Lakers are certainly making moves. Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports also reported Monday that the Lakers have come to terms with veteran point guard Rajon Rondo on a one-year, $9 million deal. He'll be joining LeBron James, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Lance Stephenson and JaVale McGee, all of whom have already agreed to deals with the Lakers this offseason.

Monday's decisions from the Lakers could signal further moves to come. Perhaps renouncing Randle was the first step in clearing room to sign DeMarcus Cousins, who played alongside Rondo with the New Orleans Pelicans last season. Perhaps it's the precursor for a Kawhi Leonard trade involving Lonzo Ball.

Or perhaps it's the most simple explanation: The Lakers didn't envision Randle in their long-term plans, or the two sides were far apart in contract talks and the team decided to move on. They may have signed Rondo to serve as a veteran backup to Ball.

Still, the Lakers have added a number of players who don't seem to fit well with James, who has often played at his best with shooters surrounding him. Players like Rondo and Stephenson won't provide much floor spacing.

Unsurprisingly, the team's moves since landing James have been met with some bewilderment around the internet: 

Still, according to Shelburne, "As you'd expect, I'm told the Lakers are pretty darn sure LeBron is fine with any move they're making right now. The communication is already strong between them."

And the Lakers should be improved defensively next season, as ESPN.com's Ohm Youngmisuk‏ suggested: 

As for Randle, the 23-year-old now is one of the most intriguing free agents remaining on the market. He averaged 16.1 points and 8.0 rebounds per game last season while shooting a career-best 55.8 percent from the field. Randle should be able to help whichever team he lands on as a small-ball 5 or a bruising 4. 

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