Power forward Julius Randle is not part of the Los Angeles Lakers’ future and could be traded between now and the offseason. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Lakers president Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka are planning to trade Randle. The question is if they trade Randle before now until the February trade deadline or wait until the offseason when he turns restricted free agent. The Lakers must extend a $5.5 million qualifying offer to Randle if he’s with the team at the end of the season. If the Lakers extend that offer, Randle will occupy a $12.4 million cap space until they decide to match or decline an offer sheet or waive their rights on him.

The Lakers also have an option not to extend a qualifying offer and allow Randle to leave as an unrestricted free agent without getting anything in return. Earlier, the Lakers did not sign Randle to a contract extension due to cap issues.

Randle relegated to reserve role

The Lakers drafted Randle seventh overall in the 2014 NBA Draft. In his rookie year, he played just one game after suffering a foot injury. The following year, Randle played 81 games with 60 starts, averaging 11.3 points and 10.2 boards in 28 minutes of play. In his third year, he played 74 games with 73 stars, tallying 13.2 points, 8.6 boards, and 3.6 assists. This season, Lakers coach Luke Walton gave him a different role as a backup power forward to Larry Nance Jr. When Nance went down with a broken left hand, Walton started rookie Kyle Kuzma instead of Randle, indicating that the Lakers are slowly turning to their young players instead of him.

The Lakers are trying to clear cap space in preparation for next summer to pursue big-name free agents who can complement their young stars Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram. It was reported that LeBron James and Paul George are both interested in joining the Lakers next season.

Randle tallies double-double in loss to Celtics

Randle scored 16 points and grabbed 12 boards in the Lakers’ 107-96 loss to the Boston Celtics, ending their two-game winning run.

Brandon Ingram and Jordan Clarkson scored 18 points each, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 12 points and Kuzma chipped in 10 as the Lakers dropped to 5-6. Center Aron Baynes matched his career high with 21 points on top of eight rebounds and three assists as the Celtics extended their winning run to 10 games after a 0-2 start.

Kyrie Irving finished with 19 points despite shooting just 7-of-21 from the field, Marcus Morris started for Al Horford and finished with a season-high 18 points while Terry Rozier scored 14 points and grabbed eight boards off the bench. The Celtics placed Horford on concussion protocol while rookie Jayson Tatum did not return in the second half due to a sore left ankle.