The dramatic reshaping of the Los Angeles Lakers roster will include Rajon Rondo joining the franchise on a one-year, $9 million deal and the departure of forward Julius Randle, who was renounced and became an unrestricted free agent, league sources told ESPN.
The Lakers outbid the New Orleans Pelicans to snare Rondo and created more salary-cap flexibility by renouncing Randle, who immediately becomes one of the hottest free agents on the open market.
Randle had been searching for an offer sheet as a restricted free agent, but the Lakers didn’t want to match a sheet and commit long-term years and money as they pursue the possibility of star free agents in 2019, including the Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs.
With Randle gone, the Lakers now have $5 million in cap room. That cap space could increase to $16 million if the team uses the waive and stretch provision on Luol Deng, which would stretch out the $36 million owed to him over five seasons.
The Lakers took Randle, 23, with the seventh overall pick in the 2014 draft. The 6-foot-9 forward averaged a career-high 16.1 points to go with 8.0 rebounds per game last season.
In his one year with the Pelicans, Rondo averaged 8.3 points and 8.2 assists per game during the regular season, with those number jumping to 10.3 PPG and 12.2 APG in the postseason as “Playoff Rondo” showed up to help New Orleans advance to the Western Conference semifinals.
The moves come a day after LeBron James‘ agency announced he will join the Lakers on a four-year, $153.3 million deal. That announcement was quickly followed by agreements by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Lance Stephenson and JaVale McGee to play for the Lakers, sources told ESPN’s Chris Haynes.
A source told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne that James has been consulted on all the team’s recent moves.
Information from ESPN’s Bobby Marks was used in this report.