Report: Julius Randle asked Lakers to let him become free agent when LeBron James signed in 2018

Ryan Ward
2 Min Read

After four seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, Julius Randle left the storied franchise in free agency in July of 2018. Randle was thought to be a talented part of the Lakers’ young core at the time, but he didn’t want to play in LeBron James’ shadow.

James agreed to sign with the Lakers in the summer of 2018, and Randle knew his time to shine in Los Angeles was over, which led to him asking the team to let him become a free agent and pursue a future elsewhere in the league.

“When LeBron James committed to the Lakers on the first day of free agency in the summer of 2018, Randle asked the franchise to allow him to become an unrestricted free agent,” wrote Ricky O’Donnell of SB Nation.

Randle was once part of a promising young core in Los Angeles that consisted of players who reached new heights with other teams.

Brandon Ingram and Jordan Clarkson are former teammates of Randle that have only improved since being traded by the Lakers. Ingram became an All-Star in his first season with the New Orleans Pelicans, while Clarkson is arguably this year’s frontrunner for Sixth Man of the Year award.

As for Randle, he’s come into his own in his second season with the New York Knicks. The University of Kentucky product is having a breakout year under Tom Thibodeau as the Knicks have become legitimate playoff contenders in the Eastern Conference.

Randle is currently averaging a career-high 23.1 points and 11.0 rebounds to go along with 5.6 assists per game. He’s also become a consistent threat from beyond the arc, shooting a career-high 40.6 percent from deep.

There’s no doubt that Randle is making a strong case to make his first All-Star Game this season while potentially getting the Knicks back in the playoffs for the first time since 2013.

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Ryan is a veteran sportswriter who has covered the NBA and NFL for nearly a decade. Along with numerous exclusive interviews with professional athletes, Ryan has been credentialed by the Los Angeles Lakers since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RyanWardLA.