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.
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.