Julius Randle is joining Anthony Davis on the New Orleans Pelicans and good luck to Western Conference teams dealing with that frontcourt.
It didn’t take Julius Randle long to find a home. Less than two hours after the Los Angeles Lakers made him an unrestricted free agent, Randle reportedly agreed to a two-year deal worth $18 million. A player option in the second year is included.
The deal will likely end up being slightly less than $18 million as the Pelicans mid-level exception is $17.7 million. You can view how the Pelicans were able to fit him into their cap sheet at Early Bird Rights.
Adrian Wojnarowski also reports that Anthony Davis played a big part in recruiting Randle. The two did not play together at Kentucky, but both played their college ball under John Calipari.
ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reports that Randle requested the Lakers renounce his rights earlier on Monday. Once the Lakers began signing Lance Stephenson and JaVale McGee on Sunday night, Randle saw the writing on the wall in Los Angeles.
Randle averaged 16.1 points, eight rebounds, and 2.6 assists in all 82 games with the Lakers last season. By signing Randle, it would appear that DeMarcus Cousins’ time in New Orleans is through. Randle will slide into the starting frontcourt with Davis, giving the Pelicans versatility at both positions.
A Randle-Davis pairing will work similar to the Cousins-Davis pairing last season. Cousins is more of a low-post threat than Randle, but both players have good passing and vision for big men. Randle is more of a ball-handler and off-the-dribble threat.
The Pelicans lost Rajon Rondo to the Lakers earlier on Monday. They signed Elfrid Payton to a one-year deal, but are likely still in the market for a point guard given Payton’s limitations.
By putting a player option into the second year, Randle will have the ability to opt for free agency again next offseason if things don’t exactly work out with Davis. Given the talent and ceiling of both players, teams are going to find it very difficult to put together a frontcourt that can matchup with Randle and Davis.