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Julius Randle’s value rising, with LeBron James latest casualty of young Laker star’s growth

first_imgEL SEGUNDO – There was a point this season where Julius Randle’s exit from the Lakers felt predetermined, as long as some team out there was willing to lavish millions of dollars on an undisciplined scorer and an (often) unwilling defender.Those days are over, and that player has been replaced by a dominant interior presence who just scored 36 points against the Cavs and stifled LeBron James. The question now is: Who wouldn’t pay for that player?“What he’s doing right now, he has to be on everyone’s radar,” coach Luke Walton said. “He’s playing unbelievable basketball. He’s a matchup nightmare for teams. He’s versatile. So he’s done very well. I would imagine … most teams are pretty impressed with what he’s doing.”As great as that is for the Lakers now, it presents some problems heading into the summer. The Lakers’ decision not to sign the fourth-year forward to a long-term extension in October sets him up for restricted free agency,  where he can sign an offer sheet with another team that the Lakers will have the opportunity to match. Now, the Lakers will have a hard time letting him go.PUNK CONTESTThe late-game antics of Jamal Murray back in early December stuck with the Lakers for more than three months as they waited for another shot at the Nuggets and their fiery point guard. So, they certainly haven’t forgiven and forgotten Murray’s fourth quarter trash talk from less than a week ago, which Walton called “disrespectful.”Walton downplayed the significance of those encounters on Tuesday’s matchup at Staples Center.“They’re a good team,” Walton said, “so we gameplan against a lot of stuff that they do, but that’s not one of the things we gameplan against.”But the relationship between Murray and the Lakers is not a good one.“It should be a good game,” Kyle Kuzma said. “They’re going to come out and try to win. They’re trying to make the playoffs. Little heated stuff the past few games so they’ll be ready to go.”The Lakers are 1-2 this season against the Nuggets, and both of their losses have featured tension in the final minutes. On Dec. 2, Murray dribbled around Lonzo Ball as he ran out the clock, earning a hard foul from Julius Randle. Last week, Ball called the showboating a “punk move.”On Friday at Pepsi Center, emotions flared once again, as Kentavious Caldwell-Pope sent Murray into the stands on a hard foul and Isaiah Thomas followed Murray to the bench as the two exchanged words.“Of course anytime something like that happens,” Kuzma said last week, “you’re always going to remember it. It is what it is. That’s the type of player he is.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersA maximum contract for Randle could start around $25 million a year. Even if he falls short of the max, that would significantly eat into the Lakers ability to sign the two max free agents they have so publicly coveted.Since moving into the starting lineup on Dec. 29, Randle has averaged 18.4 points and 9.1 rebounds while shooting 57.3 percent from the field.As Randle outdueled James in spurts on Sunday, it was hard not to think about the impact each player could have on the future of the other.“It didn’t come into my mind,” Randle said. “It’s like what 16, 17 games left. I’m just focusing on that. When the time comes in July for that we’ll figure it out.”James threw Randle a subtle compliment after the Lakers’ win. Asked about trying to slow the Lakers power forward, James said, ““Everybody’s had a hard time with him as of late.”center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

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first_imgIRELAND goalie Shay Given has hit back at plans by Scottish fans to target Aiden McGeady and James McCarthy at Celtic Park on Friday night in the Euro 2016 qualifier.The Lifford native says he expects the atmosphere to have all the hostility and venom of an Old Firm derby.But he rounded on the hosts for trying to unsettle the Everton pair James McCarthy and Aiden McGeady. McCarthy was born in Glasgow, McGeady in Falkirk – and both with grandparents from Co Donegal.Former Scotland international Gordon McQueen even urged supporters to give the defectors “a horrible welcome”.However Shay said: “The comments were a bit unfair as some of the Scottish players were born in England but have Scottish parents and that.“It can’t be one rule for Ireland and one rule for others. They are in the exact same situation, so some of the comments were a bit personal and a wee bit over the top. I just think there is no need to go to that sort of level. They are the rules and every country is the same. I think it was unfair on James and Aiden to single them out. “We can’t tell fans what to do or what not to do. I mean, we’re going into the Scotland environment and the Scotland fans can do what they want. Aiden and James are experienced players now and they are fantastic players. Probably the reason we are talking about them is they are such great players. I don’t think they will be put off by any hostility.”Alan McLoughlin, the former Ireland player who was born in Manchester to Irish parents, says other teams try to use it because they are jealous of Ireland’s success.He told John Murray on RTE Radio One this morning that other countries can’t have it both ways.He recalled criticism from the English of his Irish team in 1994 when Ireland played in the World Cup in the USA.“They forgot that John Barnes was born in Jamaica,” he said. GIVEN HITS BACK AT SCOTS OVER McGEADY AND McCARTHY was last modified: November 12th, 2014 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:IrelandScotlandShay Givenlast_img read more

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