Why Julius Randle could play huge factor in Lonzo Ball’s Knicks future

Lonzo Ball and Julius Randle together again on the other coast? Judging from Ball’s past sentiments, the Pelicans point guard would be thrilled. They were Lakers teammates for Ball’s rookie

Lonzo Ball and Julius Randle together again on the other coast?

Judging from Ball’s past sentiments, the Pelicans point guard would be thrilled. They were Lakers teammates for Ball’s rookie season in 2017-18.

Ball, whom the Pelicans are deciding whether to trade before Thursday’s NBA trade deadline, and Randle became close in Los Angeles. Ball was rocked when Randle signed with New Orleans as a free agent in 2018, soon after LeBron James came aboard.

During a 2018 episode of “Ball in the Family,” Lonzo is seen reacting to news Randle was off to the Big Easy on a two-year deal.

“Damn, that one hurt a little bit,’’ Ball says on video while tapping his chest.

“That’s your homie?” his brother Liangelo asks.

Ball, choked up, nods his head.

During their season together in La-La land, LaVar Ball, Lonzo’s outspoken father, talked up Randle as the Lakers’ under-appreciated top player. LaVar said last week he hopes Lonzo gets dealt at the deadline because the Pelicans aren’t utilizing his son’s playmaking gifts.

“Julius Randle, in the beginning they ready to trade him. I told them from the beginning he’s our best player on the team on the fact that he stronger and faster than everybody on the team,’’ LaVar told Delfi TV in March 2018. “You gotta let him loose. Just because he makes a few mistakes, don’t be like, ‘hey you gotta get out, you got an attitude’ …now he’s starting and doing wonders.’’

The Post has reported Ball has the Knicks high on his free-agent wish list – perhaps not just because they have a need for a pass-first point guard, will have the most cap space and play in the NBA’s biggest media market.

Julius Randle and Lonzo Ball with the Lakers in 2018
AP

Having Randle in place, amid his breakout All-Star season, could be another significant factor. The Knicks philosophy at the deadline is not to give up significant future assets unless it’s for the future — not as a rental. Ball is 23, a former No. 2 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft whose game has improved this season.

If Ball is traded to the Bulls on Thursday, the team reportedly pursuing him the heaviest ahead of the deadline, Chicago will get the chance to match any free-agent offer this summer since Ball is a restricted free agent.

“New Orleans looks like they’re playing out the clock,’’ one NBA executive said.

The Knicks are also keying in on the availabilities of Raptors shooting guard Norman Powell, the Rockets’ Victor Oladipo and center Andre Drummond – if he’s bought out by the Cavaliers.

This story originally appeared on: NyPost - Author:Marc Berman

Follow us on Google News