Restricted free agency is such a joke in the NBA. The Los Angeles Lakers have decided not to bet on Julius Randle yet by giving him a contract extension after this season; they'll certainly give Randle a qualifying offer of
This means it is 99.9% certain he opts in to his contract for next year and makes it harder for Cuban to offer Julius randle a max offer in restricted free agency— Sid Stacks (@sidstacks) March 12, 2018
Randle has played better than anyone could have hoped this season. In 2016-17, Randle's third season, he averaged 13.2 points, 8.6 boards, and 3.6 assists. This season, he seems to have taken a step backward, averaging 15.5 points, 7.7 boards, and 2.5 assists.
But as usual, the raw numbers don't come close to telling the full story.
Randle is getting fewer minutes per game than last season due to a previously crowded frontcourt, but since the trade that sent Larry Nance Jr. to Cleveland, the former Kentucky Wildcat has excelled.
He's averaged 20 points, 8.7 boards, and four assists since the trade deadline in 32 minutes per game. He's been remarkably efficient, shooting 58 percent from the field and upping his free throw percentage from 70 to 75 percent.
If Randle keeps this up for the rest of the season, the Lakers run the risk of letting a budding superstar walk for absolutely nothing. By playing so well, he's left them no option but to give him a big payday.
They need to suck it up and do the right thing. Otherwise, they'll look like fools.