Report: Julius Randle Declines $9M Pelicans Contract Option, Enters Free Agency

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistJune 17, 2019

New Orleans Pelicans center Julius Randle (30) plays against the Indiana Pacers during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Julius Randle reportedly declined his $9 million player option for the 2019-20 season with the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday and will now have the opportunity to hit free agency this summer.

Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported Randle's decision to test the open market.

The option was part of the two-year, $18 million deal he signed with New Orleans last summer after the Los Angeles Lakers renounced his rights.

"If you ask every [NBA] player if they had their dream scenario, their dream scenario is everyone just wants to be wanted," Randle told The Undefeated's Marc J. Spears in September 2018. "For me talking to New Orleans, they wanted me. I was a part of their future."

Randle's departure would add to the list of dramatic changes for the Pelicans as they prepare for next season. They are set to make the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft on Thursday.

ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski reported New Orleans will send Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers for Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and three first-round draft picks when the free-agent moratorium period ends on July 6.

In four seasons with the Lakers, the 2014 seventh overall pick topped out at 16.1 points per game. All Randle did in his lone season in New Orleans was post a career-high 21.4 points while adding 8.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game.

He finished the season on a strong note, averaging 24.6 points and 7.6 rebounds following the All-Star break.

Randle proved this past season that a change of scenery was the best thing for his career. Now, he will have the opportunity to try to find a new home to continue his upward trajectory.