Lakers news: Season opener gave more signs of trading Julius Randle

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The Los Angeles Lakers opened their 2017-18 season with a 108-92 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. After just one game, it is apparent the next big Lakers news will be the departure of Julius Randle.

It only seems to be a matter of time. After the latest Lakers news signaled that Julius Randle and the Lakers couldn’t agree to an extension, a trade seemed more likely. After watching just the first game of the 2017-18 NBA season, all signs are now pointing towards a Julius Randle trade. A Julius Randle trade that is several months in the making.

It all started back in June when the Los Angeles Lakers selected Kyle Kuzma in the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft. Kuzma’s strong play in the Summer League and preseason seemingly granted him the job of succeeding Randle. However, at the time the selection did seem to be a depth addition to help soften the blow.

Even before that the Lakers laid down the blueprint of their plans moving forward. Los Angeles traded D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov to the Brooklyn Nets for Brook Lopez and a draft pick (which would be Kuzma). The Lakers were packaging their young stars to get expiring deals and make cap space in 2017.

That led to many months of speculation. The Los Angeles Lakers had so many hypothetical trades; the most popular being a Randle-Luol Deng package. The Lakers reportedly even offered Randle and Jordan Clarkson, among other pieces, to the Indiana Pacers for Paul George.

Of course, nothing has happened – yet. As time goes on and things continue to formulate, the idea of trading Julius Randle shies away from fantasy and becomes more of a reality. All fans have to do is look at the Lakers’ opening game to see the stones falling in place.

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First and foremost, the Lakers opted to start Larry Nance Jr. at power forward over Julius Randle, which alone was a big mistake. According to head coach Luke Walton, this was not because Nance is particularly better than Randle, instead, it is because Nance plays better with the first unit while Randle plays better with the second unit.

That seems like an interesting response. Randle undoubtedly is the power forward you want to go all in on in the future, he was the seventh overall pick nonetheless. Plus, it is not like Randle is struggling, as he hauls in a double-double nearly every night.

Why else would you move Randle to the bench, unless you are preparing for a future without him? To Nance’s credit, he did put together a nice game consisting of 14 points and 12 rebounds. But still, things seem too fishy in LA.

Understandably, this led to frustrations boiling over between Randle and Walton during the Lakers’ opening contest. According to Walton, he thinks it stemmed from Randle being frustrated with the bench role.

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Not only are the Lakers telegraphing what they may do with Randle, they could be upsetting the young forward in the process. All of this is only adding up to a potential Randle trade. Now, a Julius Randle trade will inevitably hit the Lakers news.