Julius Randle

Pacific Notes: Carter, Randle, Jackson

While 40-year-old veteran Vince Carter was brought to a rebuilding Kings team to provide experience and leadership, he was signed as a player and not a coach for a reason, Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee writes.

That reason, Carter and Kings head coach Dave Joerger agree, is to support the development of the team’s young players on and off the court. Although Carter did miss a handful of games with kidney stones last month, his goal when he’s healthy and active is to teach his teammates to play the right way – by  leading by example.

Sure, Jones writes, Carter’s 11.7 minutes per game could go to Kings rookie Justin Jackson or raw sophomore Malachi Richardson, but his presence adds credibility to the organization in transition.

I think the worst thing you can do is trot five freshmen and sophomores out there together,” Joerger said. “I’ve been told that by many, many people in management, and those who’ve gone through a rebuild. You try to have a nice mix.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Lakers have emerged as a solid defensive force this season and much of that can be attributed to reserve forward Julius Randle. Joey Ramirez of the team’s official site writes that Randle’s versatility on that side of the ball – he’s adept checking everything from perimeter players to big men – can be chalked up to his showing up to training camp in the best shape of his career.
  • Rookie Josh Jackson insists that his opting out of a predraft workout with the Celtics was because of a miscommunication between him and his agent and not because he didn’t want to play for a team stacked with veterans at his position, Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald writes. “I’m not threatened by anybody, ever. I welcome competition,” the Suns forward said.
  • Leave it to Kyrie Irving to understand Devin Booker‘s reality with the SunsA. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston writes that Irving toiled in Cleveland before LeBron James returned much the same way that Booker is in Phoenix. “He already has that mentality of being a killer,” Irving said. “Now it’s just getting pieces around him in order to be at a high level to showcase that.

Pacific Notes: Randle, Monroe, Clippers, Fox

Lakers power forward Julius Randle was displaced from his starting role by Larry Nance Jr. heading into the season, and continued to come off the bench while Nance has been sidelined, with Kyle Kuzma moving into the starting lineup. However, Randle has been making a case for a larger role with his play as of late, writes Bill Oram of The Orange County Register.

In his last nine games, Randle has averaged 13.4 PPG and 8.2 RPG in just 25.0 minutes per contest. He’s also playing well next to starting center Brook Lopez, a pairing the Lakers weren’t necessarily bullish on entering the 2017/18 campaign.

“It works well with Brook because Brook spaces the floor so he kind of turns into the space ‘four,'” Lakers head coach Luke Walton said. “And Julius can still do all that dynamic rolling hat he does and switch defensively. We’ll keep fooling with that. … They’ve been playing well together, but I also think Julius is playing at a much higher level than he was back then (in training camp), too. There’s a lot of factors that go into it, but they look good together.”

As Randle – who is on a contract year – makes a push for more minutes, let’s round up a few more items from around the Pacific…

  • Greg Monroe has been impressive since making his debut for the Suns earlier this month, as Cody Cunningham of Suns.com details. It’s a small sample, but the veteran center’s per-36 numbers (21.7 points; 12.4 rebounds) and FG% (.619) with Phoenix are the best marks of his career. Monroe’s play could boost his trade value a little, with the Suns potentially looking to move him in the coming weeks or months.
  • In an Insider-only piece for ESPN.com, Kevin Pelton takes a closer look at the slumping Clippers, exploring whether it makes sense for the team to trade some potential 2018 free agents before the deadline if their struggles continue. DeAndre Jordan, Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell, and Willie Reed are among L.A.’s free-agents-to-be.
  • Kings rookie De’Aaron Fox will have dates against the Suns, Lakers, Celtics, and Sixers circled on his calendar for the foreseeable future, writes Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. Those are the four clubs that passed on Fox in the 2017 draft, and the young point guard wants to show them what they missed out on. “I’m happy with my situation, but at the end of the day those teams had the chance and opportunity to draft me,” Fox said.

Julius Randle’s Future ‘Unlikely’ To Involve Lakers

It’s very unlikely that Julius Randle‘s future will come with the Lakers, Adrian Wojnarowki of ESPN says (via RealGM). Los Angeles, of course, is positioning itself to sign multiple max free agents in the summer of 2018, just when Randle will be hitting restricted free agency.

For now, Lakers’ execs Rob Pelinka and Magic Johnson will need to determine whether the franchise would be better off shipping Randle out of town prior to the February trade deadline or potentially rolling the dice when he’s a restricted free agent next summer.

Randle’s cap hit will be worth $12.4MM in the offseason, a significant chunk for a team looking to potentially sign the likes of LeBron James and/or Paul George.

Lost in all of the anticipation about 2018, however, is an impressively efficient 23-year-old in the best condition of his NBA career. In less than 20 minutes per game so far this season, Randle has averaged 11.5 points and 6.3 rebounds.

Not surprisingly, the Lakers will likely at least consider moving Randle to a team during the course of the 2017/18 season, with a potential yield of a first-round pick.

It’s not unrealistic to expect another organization around the league, one without major free agency ambitions like L.A., to take a flyer on the 2014 NBA Draft’s seventh-overall pick, a versatile young power forward who’s even spent time at the five so far this season.

Pacific Notes: Russell, Teodosic, Randle

After spending his first two seasons with the Lakers, D’Angelo Russell will face them as a member of the Nets tonight. As Bill Oram of the Orange County Register writes, Los Angeles him expects him to be fired up in his return to the Staples Center.

You see him right now in Brooklyn, he’s cooking,” former Lakers teammate Jordan Clarkson said. “He’s balling. … He’s got a new home, feel like it’s the right fit for him. He’s able to create, score, have the ball in his hands a lot, play the style of play that he wants to.

In seven games with the Nets this year, the Lakers’ second-overall pick in 2015 has averaged 21.7 points and 5.0 assists per game. Those numbers are up from his sophomore figures of 15.6 and 4.8, despite playing over two minutes less per contest thus far in 2017/18.

There’s more out of the Pacific Division:

  • Injured guard Milos Teodosic has shown progress in his recovery from a plantar fascia injury in his left foot but there’s still no timetable for his return. Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times writes that the Clippers rookie is now getting around in a walking boot, whereas previously he was confined to a scooter.
  • As we wrote about earlier today, Larry Nance Jr. will miss four to six weeks undergoing surgery for a hand fracture. That could spell a big opportunity for Julius Randle, the forward slotted behind him in the depth chart. As Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets, Randle’s role change could be particularly significant considering that the pending restricted free agent’s qualifying offer amount could increase if Randle starts at least nine games this season.
  • Don’t expect 17-year veteran Tyson Chandler to demand a trade out of Phoenix, Michael Lee of The Vertical writes in an excellent feature. The 35-year-old Suns big man may be on a different timeline than the rest of the franchise but doesn’t plan on forcing his way out of town. He spoke about teammate Eric Bledsoe who, well, has. “I’m not surprised about that. I kind of saw that stuff coming,” Chandler said. “He’s in a different place than I’m in. He’s in the prime of his career. Everything that happened last season and then rolling over into the summer, of course, I felt like it could’ve been handled differently. But I understand his stance and I understand it’s his career. He’s got to eat. He ultimately has to make his own decisions, as a man.”

L.A. Notes: Teodosic, Gallinari, Randle, Deng

Milos Teodosic, the Clippers‘ 30-year-old rookie out of Serbia, will have an MRI on his left foot today after injuring it Saturday night, according to ESPN.com. X-rays on the foot were negative after Teodosic had to be carried off the court, but he was on crutches after the game. “I just saw him laying down,” said coach Doc Rivers. “I didn’t see what happened. He said that he felt something in his foot. So it’s definitely a foot injury. But we don’t know what it is.” Rookie guard Jawun Evans will be activated while Teodosic is out, and Austin Rivers is expected to take his place in the starting lineup.

There’s more this morning out of Los Angeles:

  • Free agent addition Danilo Gallinari is still trying to get used to his new Clippers teammates after an injury wiped out most of his preseason, writes Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Gallinari, who spent the past six and a half years with the Nuggets, strained his left foot in the second exhibition game and wasn’t able to practice until last Sunday. That didn’t keep him from earning a starting role, and now he has to adapt to playing alongside Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan in the frontcourt. “I think we did a pretty good job as far as chemistry with us three,” Gallinari said. “But everybody is trying to learn how to play with each other. Everybody is new so it’s going to take a while. It’s going to be a learning process the whole season.”
  • The Lakers are concerned about Julius Randle‘s reaction to the loss of his starting job, reports Bill Oram of the Orange County Register. Coach Luke Walton said he decided to make Larry Nance Jr. the starting power forward because he was playing better with the first team, while Randle fit in well with the reserves. But Walton didn’t like Randle’s effort in the season opener and quickly pulled him from the game. “When he stepped on the court for whatever reason he wasn’t ready to go,” Walton said, “like he has been for the past week [of practices]. So I pulled him out to tell him about it. I know he wasn’t happy with me but that’s my job.” Adding to Randle’s frustrations is the team’s decision not to offer him a rookie scale contract extension this week. He will be a restricted free agent next summer and may be nearing the end of his time with the Lakers.
  • After starting Thursday’s game, Lakers forward Luol Deng was inactive Friday as Corey Brewer took his place, notes Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times. Deng still has two more seasons and $36.81MM left on his contract.

Pacific Notes: Ball, Paul, Divac, CP3, Randle

Lonzo Ball looked overmatched during his NBA debut against the Clippers as Patrick Beverley aggressively shut him down. Ball, 19, returned last night to post 29 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists in the Lakers‘ win against the Suns. Team president Magic Johnson spoke to USA Today before Ball’s debut and addressed his mindset before the game.

“He’s nervous,” Johnson said. “But he has a demeanor where you don’t know he’s nervous. But tonight, he has the weight of the world on his shoulders.”

It did not take long for Ball to show a glimpse of why he was one of the most highly-anticipated rookies in recent memory. His near triple-double in the Lakers’ 132-130 win over Phoenix show his potential is off the charts. While one game does not define Ball or what his career will be like, it’s clear that he still has support from Lakers brass and it will stay that way for years to come.

“Last year he was the most efficient college basketball player,” Johnson said. “And now that he’s come to the pros, he’s been — ever since we drafted him — he’s been a great young man, a great teammate. His teammates, they love him. Love him. Those were the things I was looking for (before drafting him).

Check out other news around the Pacific Division:

  • Chris Paul has been mostly silent on why he left the Clippers to play for the Rockets. However, in a recent documentary, Paul said his former team’s “culture” is one reason he left, claiming the team did not do enough to compete with Golden State, Elliot Teaford of The Orange County Register writes. Clippers coach Doc Rivers fired back, saying, “I don’t think you have to try to burn the house down or justify why you left. That’s what I would say to it. I like our culture.”
  • Julius Randle looked lackadaisical on defense and offense in the Lakers’ season-opener, which led to a stern talk from head coach Luke Walton, Bill Oram of The Orange County Register writes. Whether it’s frustration over losing the starting spot or not being in game shape, Randle’s performance on Thursday was alarming.
  • Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee spoke with Kings‘ general manager Vlade Divac, who gave his thoughts on every player on Sacramento’s roster.
  • The Kings hired former WNBA coach and player Jenny Boucek as an assistant player development coach, according to the Associated Press.

Extension Rumors: Randle, Smart, McDermott, LaVine

As I detailed this morning, Monday isn’t just the last day of 2017 for fourth-year players to sign rookie scale extensions — it’s also the final day that extension-eligible veterans can sign new deals if they have more than one year remaining on their current contracts. That’s why veteran players like Spurs big man LaMarcus Aldridge are engaged in talks about possible extensions.

Here are a few more of the latest updates on extension-eligible players:

  • The Lakers and Julius Randle had “cordial conversations” about a new deal, but everyone understands the club’s salary cap situation, tweets Ramona Shelburne of ESPN. With L.A. looking to preserve 2018 cap room, no extension is expected for Randle.
  • Barring a sudden change, Marcus Smart and the Celtics are set to let today’s deadline pass without a new deal in place, a league source tells Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe (Twitter link). Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald tweets a similar sentiment, citing a source who says there’s “a pulse but not much else” in the Smart negotiations.
  • The Knicks are “highly unlikey” to sign newly-acquired sharpshooter Doug McDermott to a new deal today, tweets Ian Begley of ESPN. As Begley observes, there’s no rush for the Knicks, who will have all season to see how McDermott fits in New York.
  • K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune suggested over the weekend that it’s a matter of when – not if – the Bulls lock up Zach LaVine to a new contract. It appears the “when” won’t be today though. Vincent Goodwill of NBC Sports Chicago (Twitter link) hears from a source that a rookie scale extension for LaVine is “not likely.”

Extension Rumors: LaVine, Capela, Smart, Randle

Earlier today, Andrew Wiggins became the fourth 2014 first-rounder to reach an agreement on a rookie scale extension with his current team, joining Joel Embiid, Gary Harris, and T.J. Warren. That still leaves 17 players eligible for a rookie scale extension up until the October 16 deadline.

Not all of those players are strong candidates for a new deal. It’s extremely unlikely, for instance, that the Raptors will extend Bruno Caboclo within the next few days, and we shouldn’t bet on Shabazz Napier getting a new long-term deal from Portland. Still, a number of viable candidates remain unsigned.

Here are the latest notes and rumors on some of those extension-eligible players:

  • ESPN’s Kevin Pelton (Insider link) identifies Aaron Gordon (Magic), Elfrid Payton (Magic), Zach LaVine (Bulls), Jusuf Nurkic (Trail Blazers), and Rodney Hood (Jazz) as the most logical candidates for extensions among the group of remaining eligible players.
  • There’s “nothing substantive” so far between LaVine and the Bulls, but that could change by next Monday, TNT’s David Aldridge writes in his rundown of extension candidates at NBA.com. Aldridge – who examines each 2014 first-rounder individually – is also somewhat bullish on the possibility of new deals for Nurkic, Hood, and Rockets big man Clint Capela.
  • Marcus Smart said earlier this week that his agent has yet to hear from the Celtics about a possible extension. Today, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge didn’t exactly offer clarity on the subject, indicating that he has had “talks” about a new contract for Smart, but no “negotiations” (Twitter link via Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald).
  • Julius Randle is extension-eligible, but his future with the Lakers is linked to the team’s pursuit of 2018 free agents, as Bill Oram of The Orange County Register details. Although Randle says his reps have been in touch with the Lakers, an extension this year is an extreme long shot.

Extension Candidate: Julius Randle

For the third straight season, Julius Randle made progress establishing himself as a significant factor in the Lakers’ frontcourt. However, that progress won’t impact whether or not the 22-year-old inks a contract extension prior to the October 16th deadline.Julius Randle vertical

No, Randle’s fate – perhaps more than any other player headed into the final year of a rookie contract – is tied to the lofty ambitions of the franchise that he plays for.

Put simply, the Lakers are all-in on preserving cap space for the 2018 free agency period — a period in which they’ll inevitably pursue LeBron James and Paul George. Or LeBron James and Russell Westbrook. Or LeBron James and any other star player who opts to test the waters next summer, it really just depends on which barber you ask.

This isn’t a knock on Randle. It’s a reality. The same reality that saw L.A. ship D’Angelo Russell out of town just to alleviate the club’s $16MM obligation to Timofey Mozgov in 2018/19.

Signing Randle to any extension in the realm of what he would justifiably qualify for before the October deadline would unnecessarily eat into the room that the Lakers would need in order to make a big, nay, massive splash next offseason. As it stands, Los Angeles has just under $54MM on their books for the 2018/19 season and you can bet the farm that they club will do anything within reason to unload Luol Deng‘s 18MM as soon as conceivably possible.

Of course, the Lakers can always circle back to Randle as a restricted free agent once they have a better idea of how their 2018 offseason will play out, but that obviously comes with inherent risk. It’s not inconceivable that Randle will raise his value this season and coax an aggressive offer sheet out of a team with cap space to burn.

So the question isn’t whether Randle will earn a contract extension in the next month – that almost certainly won’t happen – but rather if his play thus far has warranted it.

In his two full seasons with the Lakers, Randle has averaged just under a double double, putting up 12.2 PPG and 9.4 RPG while flashing impressive vision for a post player and a handle reminiscent of a slightly less polished Blake Griffin (that’s still a good thing).

Randle’s per-36 numbers ooze Zach Randolph-esque potential and the fact that he’s a productive contributor who doesn’t require much of the spotlight bodes well for a Lakers team that has every intention of filling the lineup around him with stars.

Expect Randle, already a competent third or fourth option, to take yet another step forward in 2017/18. The power forward has committed to improving his physical conditioning this summer and will now play alongside Lonzo Ball, one of the most exciting playmakers to come into the league in years.

We saw excellent rebound and assist rates out of Randle last season, as well as a modest 13.2 points per contest. That last figure could jump up to a more headline-worthy level, conveniently ahead of July 2018, when he hits the market for the first time.

If the pending restricted free agent drives his value to a level that precludes Los Angeles from retaining him, then that’s simply a consequence of the Lakers’ own ambition.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Kyler’s Latest: Parker, Embiid, A. Gordon, Hood

Andrew Wiggins‘ case for a contract extension has received most of the attention so far this summer, but Wiggins is just one of 21 players heading into the final year of their respective rookie contracts who are eligible for rookie scale extensions this offseason.

In his latest piece for Basketball Insiders, Steve Kyler takes a closer look at several of those extension-eligible players, so let’s dive in and round up the highlights…

  • There’s a sense that the Bucks are open to getting something done this offseason with Jabari Parker, since they’re confident he’ll make a full recovery from his latest ACL tear, sources tell Kyler. However, Milwaukee would almost certainly ask Parker to accept a team-friendly rate, so he’s more likely to play out his final year and seek out a new deal next summer as a restricted free agent.
  • There’s a “growing sense” that the Sixers will extend Joel Embiid, but it remains to be seen whether he’ll accept an offer worth less than the max, writes Kyler. A deal structured like Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s four-year, $100MM extension might make sense if Embiid doesn’t want to push hard for a max contract.
  • With a new management team in place in Orlando, the Magic are expected to take a wait-and-see approach to a new deal for Aaron Gordon, unless he’s willing to sign at a discounted rate for the sake of long-term security, says Kyler.
  • If the Celtics lock up Marcus Smart to a long-term deal, it’s more likely to happen in 2018 than this offseason, per Kyler.
  • With the Lakers looking to maximize their 2018 cap room, Julius Randle has a better chance to be traded at some point before February’s deadline than he does to be extended before the season, according to Kyler.
  • Sources tell Kyler that Rodney Hood and his camp are “very open” to negotiating an extension with the Jazz. The Basketball Insiders scribe estimates that something in the Evan Turner range (four years, $70MM) might be an appropriate price point for Hood.
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