SportsLakersLakers Now

Lakers welcome Julius Randle, still no decision on foot surgery

Professional BasketballLos Angeles LakersJulius RandleBasketballNBAKobe BryantMike D'Antoni
'I'm just truly blessed at being with such a great organization,' said Randle

The Lakers introduced former Kentucky forward Julius Randle on Monday morning at their practice facility in El Segundo.

"I'm just truly blessed at being with such a great organization, the greatest organization in the NBA," said Randle.

The 6-foot-9 lefty was drafted by the Lakers on Thursday with the seventh overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft.  He hopes to make an immediate impact, whether he starts or comes off the bench.

"[Starting is] something that you have to earn," he said. "I think that I can come in and contribute right away. It's just all going to depend on my work ethic, my willingness to put the time into the gym. I think the results will show if I do that."

Randle will wear No. 30 with the Lakers, a number he borrowed before his Kentucky career from his mother, Carolyn Kyles, who played at the University of Texas, Arlington.

"[She said,] 'If you're going to wear it, you've got to do something with it,'" recalled Randall. "Playing for the Lakers, I guess I've [done] something."

Randle is a long-time Lakers and Kobe Bryant aficionado.

"As a kid, I always grew up a Lakers fan," he said.  "I felt humbled to be in the position that I was, to be able to work out for the Lakers. ... It just felt like the right place for me."

He looks forward to playing with Bryant.

"I've been warned," said Randle. "I've been told he can push his teammates."

The bigger question the Lakers are weighing is Randle's foot, which was surgically repaired while he was in high school. The team has to decide if it's worth having the screw removed this summer, before Randle's NBA career begins in earnest.

"I'm not sure yet as far as summer league," said Randle. "My plan is to play, but I don't know."

"I haven't gotten clarity," he continued. "I'm not sure what exactly is the next step."

"Today he took a physical," said General Manager Mitch Kupchak. "For the next two or three days, we're going to continue with the physical process. Based on his performance and his play last year through a full schedule, we don't expect anything different to come up.  We'll know more toward the end of the week.

"We're very aware of summer league, which starts here in this building, in terms of practice, next Monday.  I believe the first game is the following Friday."

The Lakers also have yet to hire a head coach to replace Mike D'Antoni, who resigned in late April.

"It's not a concern with me," said Randle. "It's such a winning organization, I trust everything they do.  I'm not really worried about that.  I know it will be the right coach."

Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
Comments
Loading