The Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets are reportedly among the teams expected to express interest in free-agent forward Julius Randle.
Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported the news Wednesday.
Randle, 24, is coming off a career year in which he averaged 21.4 points and 8.7 rebounds per game while flashing an improved three-point game. He declined a $9.1 million player option with the New Orleans Pelicans to enter unrestricted free agency for the second straight summer.
The Nets and Knicks would likely only be conditionally interested in signing Randle. Both teams have two max slots available and are expected to pursue the top free agents on the market, most notably Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. Randle would be a backup plan for either squad, so he might need to wait a little bit for things to settle before his market picks up.
The Bulls could be an interesting fit, given their youth-laden core and Lauri Markkanen's ability to stretch the floor. Markannen and Randle could fit together as a strong offensive frontcourt, but their defense would be severely lacking. Add in Zach LaVine's presence, and the Bulls would quickly project as one of the NBA's worst defensive teams.
Randle's best bet appears to be waiting until the major free agents ink their deals and then hoping teams with remaining cap space start to get antsy. His numbers are strong, and his improvement from three (34.4 percent) is appealing. But Randle is clearly not a player you'd want to break the bank for.
That said, don't be surprised if he winds up doubling the $9 million he was due in New Orleans on a per-year basis. Randle is young, plays hard, has flashed an exceedingly well-rounded offensive game, and it only takes one team to buy in.