After four years with the Lakers, Randle will be suiting up in a different uniform for the first time in his professional career. While many fans were hoping to see Randle back in the purple and gold, Randle told Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated last week that a reunion with the franchise that drafted him seemed unlikely early on.
“It was my hardest (season) by far in my life,” Randle said. “Everything was bothering me from the basketball standpoint. I felt like there were issues that were out of your control. I am a person that likes to control the narrative. … I just had to grow up. I can’t worry about things I can’t control and let it affect my happiness.”
The Lakers renounced the rights to Randle on the second day of free agency, making him an unrestricted free agent and allowing him to sign a team friendly two-year, $18 million contract with the Pelicans.
Randle told Spears that he has no hard feelings towards the Lakers, but admitted he’ll miss the relationships he built during his time in Los Angeles.
“The Lakers stuff, it didn’t really bother me,” Randle said. “I moved on. The tough part is the brotherhood and bond you establish with the players and the other guys. Nobody knows what you go through other than the guys in that locker room. All of us were young. I was an older dude in that locker room and I was 22, 23 on my fourth year in the NBA. You go through wars with these guys and grow with these guys.
“When J.C. (Jordan Clarkson) and Larry (Nance) got traded (to Cleveland), it hurt me.”
As the first building block of the Lakers’ rebuild, Randle saw the team during their lowest of lows and was an integral part of their first 30-plus win season in five years.
While it will undeniably be nice to see the Lakers competing for a playoff spot again, it would have been that much sweeter if they could have done it with the player that they started all this with.
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