It looks like the last player remaining from Kobe Bryant’s days with the purple and gold is on the way out.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Lakers have renounced Julius Randle’s rights, making him an unrestricted free agent, meaning he can now sign wherever he pleases.
The Lakers have renounced Julius Randle, making him an unrestricted free agent, league source tells ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 2, 2018
Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka then followed up the move with another signing: Rajon Rondo, on a one-year deal worth $9 million, according to Shams Charania from Yahoo Sports:
Sources: Rajon Rondo is signing a one-year, $9M deal with Lakers.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 2, 2018
So, what does this mean for the Lakers?
The purple and gold likely let Randle, the seventh pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, become an unrestricted free agent in order to maintain flexibility for both this summer and the next. Signing Randle to a max deal would’ve taken away a max space for the likes of Kawhi Leonard or another superstar free agent.
Rondo will bring experience to the point guard position, that is currently manned by 20-year-old Lonzo Ball. With LeBron James coming on board, it’s no surprise the purple and gold want to add more experience in the backcourt.
For Lakers fans, losing Randle, who was the first lottery pick at the start of the rebuild, will definitely hurt in the short-term, but Johnson and Pelinka have earned the right to be trusted at this point. Big moves are clearly in their sights, whether that’s this summer or the next.
Whatever happens, good luck to Randle: he had a phenomenal season after putting in a summer of hard work, and deserves to be paid – it just won’t be with the Lakers.