Julius Randle

Lakers free agency plans holding up the signing of Julius Randle

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The good news as far as the Lakers first round draft pick is concerned is that he’s fully healthy, and won’t require any offseason surgery.

The bad news is that L.A.’s free agent plans are holding up the signing of his contract, which may delay his ability to play for the team at Summer League in Las Vegas.

Julius Randle was selected by the Lakers with the seventh overall pick in the draft, and for the most part, the rookie-scale salary that goes along with that designation is determined by the collective bargaining agreement. But there is a small amount of wiggle room, and the Lakers are keeping it for now as they wait to see who might be available to them as free agency unfolds.

From Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles:

Rookie Julius Randle, medically cleared by a foot specialist last week to play on his right foot without any further surgical procedures, is waiting to sign his contract before he can participate in the summer league games.

“We’ll see,” Randle said when asked if he would be suiting up for the Lakers first game against the Toronto Raptors on Friday. “It’s kind of really out of my hands right now. I’m ready to play whenever, but it’s not really in my hands right now.”

The Lakers, of course, are waiting to actually ink Randle to his rookie deal as long as they are pursuing Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James, because they want to keep as much cap space open as possible to facilitate the deals.

Randle currently has a cap hold of $2.497,800, which is money set aside for him that can’t be offered to say, Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James (or anyone else) in free agency. But teams can sign their first round picks for up to 120 percent of that amount, and they usually do, especially for those players chosen in Randle’s spot.

The maximum amount Randle could receive is $2,997,360 — a difference of almost $500,000 that the Lakers may very well need to sign someone else.

L.A. is waiting on free agency, which obviously makes sense given the current state of the franchise. But it could end up costing Randle in one form or another — either on the contract side, or in terms of valuable time that could be spent getting his game NBA-ready in Vegas.

Isaiah Thomas nutmegs Knicks center Marshall Plumlee (video)

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Isaiah Thomas usually saves his best play for the fourth quarter, but the Celtics guard showed out early with this pass between Marshall Plumlee‘s legs to get Kelly Olynyk a layup.

Thomas uncharacteristically just didn’t have enough late. Though he scored 39 points, he shot just 2-for-9 in the final period, as the Knicks pulled away for a 117-106 win.

Kevin Durant misses dunk so hard, ball flies past halfcourt (video)

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Kevin Durant played great in the Warriors’ win over the Thunder last night, but – perhaps fueled by excess emotion – he missed this incredibly emphatic dunk attempt.

Later, Russell Westbrook showed his former teammate how to do it (sparking their apparent conversation):

James Harden outduels Giannis Antetokounmpo as they produce fantastic highlight video

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James Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo met in a battle of two of the NBA’s best point guards. (Still weird to say.) The final lines:

  • Harden: 38 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 blocks
  • Antetokounmpo: 32 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 blocks

The winner? Harden and the Rockets, who topped the Bucks, 111-92.

But the real winner? Anyone who gets to watch this highlight video. It just gets better as it goes.

PBT Extra: Who do you want to see most in first All-Star Game?

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Tonight the NBA All-Star Game starters will be announced. Then the coaches have a week to vote and the rest of the roster will be put together by them.

This year should see a few first-time All-Stars, guys bursting on the scene and grabbing fans attention — so we asked people on Twitter who they most wanted to see in his first All-Star Game and I break it down in this PBT Extra.

The winner? Giannis Antetokounmpo with 45 percent of the vote. Which shouldn’t be a surprise, he’s second in the fan voting for the frontcourt in the East (behind only LeBron James). Good news for those fans, the Greek Freak is almost guaranteed to be a starter, he’s getting plenty of media votes and likely a lot from the players as well.

Second place in the poll? Joel Embiid of the Sixers. I’d love to see him, but will players and media members vote in a guy on a minutes restriction? Will the coaches pick him for that same reason? He is on the bubble.