After a rather ho-hum start to the NBA free agency period, the New Orleans Pelicans have been on a roll today and they finally made a big splash of their own, inking former Laker forward Julius Randle to a two-year deal.
The contract is worth a total of $18 million dollars and is likely the full Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level exception. The second of the two years on Randle’s contract is a player option, giving the young forward a chance to hit free agency again in the summer of 2019 when the market is expected to be friendlier for free agents.
New Orleans general manager Dell Demps showed nice patience in allowing the market to mature before making a big splash. There are several major implications in light of recent developments.
Boogieing Out Of Town?
It’s hard to tell until all the free agency dust settles but it would seem that the move to sign Randle could be a sign that New Orleans is ready to move on from center DeMarcus Cousins. The addition of Randle gives New Orleans four big men, who all require heavy minutes when healthy. A case could be made that in year one this wouldn’t be a problem if Cousins is expected to be limited or inactive for most of the year. However, an immediate log jam would be created as soon as Boogie returned to regular action. Nothing is final yet, but I think this signals the end of the brief Boogie era in New Orleans.
Update: DeMarcus Cousins is agreed to join the Golden State Warriors on a one-year prove-it-to-me deal.
Cousins will sign a one-year, $5.3M deal with Warriors, league source tells ESPN. https://t.co/LaTLH3oOTB— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 3, 2018
AD Ready To Play Center
Anthony Davis was created to be a center in the small ball era. While Davis has fought the notion for years, the Pelicans late season run that saw The Brow devour opposing front courts may have finally proven to him that playing center in a fast paced Gentry offense is the perfect fit for his skill set and a the team’s record. Bringing in Randle to go along with Nikola Mirotic gives him two fellow bigs that can suck attention out of the paint or make opponents pay for doubling Davis. This also equips the Pelicans to play at the break neck pace we saw late last season. Cousins was never a perfect fit for that style of offense, but Mirotic and Randle next to Davis will present 48 minutes of fast paced hell for the slow footed bigs of the Association.
Anthony Davis Hits The Recruiting Trail
There are different kinds of stars in the NBA. The ones that leave to join a winner and the ones who stay put and take the challenge to build a winner where they are. I’m not passing judgement because guys should be able to do what they want with their careers; however, until now, we weren’t sure which category Anthony Davis fell into. Maybe the biggest positive sign of the off-season is that Anthony Davis recruited Julius Randle to the Pelicans “tenaciously” according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Anthony Davis' tenacious recruiting helped close the deal on Randle, league source tells ESPN. https://t.co/8BzHoVYnT5— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 2, 2018
This may seem like a small thing, but we haven’t heard about Davis recruiting hard in the past. And if you are vigorously recruiting your friends to join the team, it’s likely you have full intentions on trying to make it work with your franchise. This is huge as it gives us a window into the Brow’s thinking going into a year where the Pelicans can offer him a huge extension next summer. At least right now he’s motivated to build a winner in New Orleans and that should have us all cheering the Randle signing.