For the Los Angeles Lakers, the best way to woo LeBron James in free agency is by impressing him on the court. They certainly accomplished that Sunday night, as Julius Randle and his teammates cruised past the Cleveland Cavaliers 127-113.
Randle enjoyed a career game, posting 36 points and 14 rebounds. Former Cav Isaiah Thomas also put forth one of his best efforts of the season, adding 20 points and nine assists.
Many have linked James to Los Angeles, where he maintains residence in the offseason and works with the SpringHill Entertainment production company. The only way LeBron will choose LA over other top destinations like Philadelphia and Houston–and of course, Cleveland–is if the new destination has a chance to win.
LeBron’s legacy will dictate a future move. The suddenly red-hot Lakers made their pitch with an entertaining brand of up-tempo basketball, one that has propelled them to a 30-36 record.
The Lakers’ future could include Randle, who has been on a tear since Jan. 1. He has averaged nearly 18 PPG and 9 RPG while imposing his will at both ends of the floor. In the modern NBA, Randle could function as a small-ball center.
"It was something I always knew I could do," Randle told reporters after the win. "Just take time to continue to learn the game, continue to grow and develop as a player. As a person. Something I knew I could do. I'm not surprised but it feels good."
If the Lakers retain Randle, he will be paired with other young players like Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, and Lonzo Ball. Los Angeles will also have a surplus of cap space, where it will hope to lure other top talent.
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