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A Wheeler's Opinion: Will the Lakers Trade Julius Randle?

Randle's slowly decreasing role means he's not included in the long-term plans of LA




The question is: Where will Julius Randle play after this season?


The Los Angeles Lakers are not yet in its glorious form. Not. Yet. Yes, they got one of the most hyped and yet, almost disappointing rookies in the history of the NBA in Lonzo Ball who, a few days ago, became the youngest NBA player to record a triple-double, a record previously held by LeBron James. 

Yes, the Lakers got one of the biggest steals from this year's draft in Kyle Kuzma who is playing way better than the number 2 pick. And yet, they are still at the 11th place in the West, thanks to their 6-8 record.

Who is leading the Lakers nowadays? Many people think it should be Lonzo Ball. Many people think it should be Brandon Ingram. But no, it's Jordan Clarkson who is currently leading the team, at least in scoring with 15 points per game- all while coming off the bench.


So where's Julius Randle in all of this?


In 14 games so far, Randle hasn't started for the Lakers even though he's relatively a  young veteran. To explain how decreased the role of Randle is, he's been playing for 19 minutes on the average. Kyle Kuzma for one, has averaged 31 playing minutes per game and has started for 6 of the 14  games for the Lakers, so far. Larry Nance Jr., who is out due to an injury, has averaged 23 playing minutes in the 8 games that he started.

Yes, Julius Randle is leading the team in field goal percentage, making 58% of his shot attempts. Yes, he is averaging 11 points and 6 rebounds per game. And yes, we all know he's capable of scoring more than just 11 points. But, we haven't seen that.

Here's the problem, folks:

Randle is set to become a restricted free agent at the end of the current season as the Lakers didn't offer a contract extension before the season began unless Magic Johnson and company extends an offer. Nah!






What will happen to Randle?


If you were to ask this basketball pundit on wheels, it's likely that the Lakers will trade Julius Randle for a first-round draft pick before the trade deadline. 

Why? Once Larry Nance Jr. gets back into shape, the Lakers will get a healthy frontcourt once again with Brook Lopez at the top of things. So Randle's minutes will continue to deteriorate. There's no point for the Lakes to keep him especially if they want to have enough cash to attract superstars.


Conclusion 

Trade him and you might get another steal from the draft. Let him walk and you gain a roster spot. 

Keep him? Your money is sleeping. If you were to ask this pundit on wheels, just trade him or let him walk. 

Who knows? Paul George might come to Hollywood. So might LeBron James. But the Lakers will need to act quickly and, smart. 

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