Forward Julius Randle has had a change in scenery this offseason after electing to ink a two-year, $18 million deal to join the New Orleans Pelicans after spending his first four years in the league with the Los Angeles Lakers.
During his introductory press conference with the Pelicans on Friday, Randle appeared to take a subtle shot at his former team when describing what it will be like to play under Alvin Gentry’s defensive scheme.
There may ways that these comments from Randle can be taken as there wasn’t a significant amount of interest from the Lakers to keep him aboard that was made clear after they had decided to rescind the qualifying offer that made him an unrestricted free agent. This was done in order to keep their salary cap situation positioned well to help them maintain financial flexiblity next summer to which they solidified buy handing out several one-year deals with proven veterans.
This notion was only further confirmed by general manager Rob Pelinka on Wednesday after he voiced that the team has a high priority on having significant salary cap space next July. There is much reason for that given that the field is expected to have many marquee players such as Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, and Kemba Walker.
At the same time, it may be a change in philosophy that Randle has noticed right off the bat when he spoke to Gentry about the team’s game plan defensively. This more than likely wasn’t the intended perception of his statement, but it does give insight to his experience playing in Los Angeles. Randle now moves on to the next chapter of his career where he will be a big piece of the puzzle in the frontcourt where he hopes to become a long-term fixtyure next to All-Star big man Anthony Davis.