The Los Angeles Lakers will have some competition for restricted free agent Julius Randle as the Dallas Mavericks are expected to pursue the 23-year-old big man in free agency, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer.
Randle has been linked to his hometown Mavericks all season, but with the NBA draft just a little over a month away, O’Connor says the Mavs will have to decide how they want to address their many holes in the front court sooner rather than later.
“The Mavericks can create space to sign a max free agent, and multiple league sources expect them to pursue a trio of big men: DeAndre Jordan, DeMarcus Cousins, and restricted free agent Julius Randle ... Randle and Jordan are both Texas natives. Randle fits the timeline of Dallas’s young roster, while Jordan could finally get a glimpse at what he missed out on after backing out of a deal with the Mavs in the summer of 2015.”
The Mavericks are expected to have around $31.4 million in cap space heading into this summer, enough to offer Randle a max contract starting at $29.6 million a year. However, as a restricted free agent, Randle is likely a little further down the Mavericks’ free agency wishlist.
Even though the Mavericks can offer Randle big money, the Lakers would have seven days to match. Whether or not the Lakers decided to match the offer, the Mavericks would still have their money tied up for all seven days. Luckily for them, Dallas can afford to wait for Randle.
With the Lakers’ eyes set on Paul George and LeBron James, a decision on Randle likely won’t be made until weeks into the free agency period. By that time, it’s possible the Mavericks, and other teams, will have already found out if their “plan As” fell through, making it less of a hassle to tie up money in restricted free agency.
When it’s all said and done, the Lakers ultimately hold the keys to Randle’s future. But with Randle’s agent recently saying he doesn’t feel the Lakers’ front office has made Randle a priority, things could get messy this summer.