The Dallas Mavericks need a big man.
Prized free-agent center DeMarcus Cousins could be an option.
And while many pundits have the front office taking center Mohamed Bamba out of Texas, the super-long center might already be off the board by the fifth pick of the NBA Draft.
There are other front-court options out there, including current Los Angeles Lakers post Julius Randle, who went to high school at Plano's Prestonwood Christian Academy. There are several rumors out there that the Mavericks are interested in signing the University of Kentucky product.
And due to the Lakers pursuit of two max-contract free agents, it’s possible, but unlikely that Randle resign in Los Angeles.
So, how much would it cost for the Mavericks to bring Randle back home?
Technically, Randle is a restricted free agent, which means he can sign an offer sheet with any team, but the Lakers can retain him by matching the terms of that offer. That caveat and the interest from other teams around the league will prevent the Mavericks from signing him to a deal that is significantly lower than market value.
Cousins is probably the best available two-way big man on the market, but his value is complicated by the fact that he suffered a ruptured Achilles on Jan. 26. His sometimes volatile personality hasn’t endeared him to coaches or teammates, either.
How teams value late-bloomer Clint Capela of the Rockets and defensive stalwart DeAndre Jordan of the Clippers will likely impact where Randle ends up, too.
But Mavs owner Mark Cuban has repeatedly stated that he wants to spend and the team has the necessary cap space to the NBA’s time-honored tradition of shelling out stupid amounts of money for free agents who provide disappointing returns.
At 6-foot-9, Randle is a power forward. Last season, the Lakers forced him to play out of position at center.
His height keeps him from being an effective rebounder (he averaged 8 per game last season). However, he did enjoy a career high 16 points per game last season, which would’ve ranked 6th amongst all NBA power forwards.
As of this moment, the top five highest-paid power forwards in the NBA will earn 2018 salaries between $21,666,667 and $32,088,932 next season, according to Spotrac.com.
Even though Randle’s physical traits are likely going to limit his ceiling, his agent will still argue that his age (he turns 24 in November) and the upward trend of his production should command a salary near the top of the market.
Randle also had several strong auditions when the Mavericks and Lakers played this past season. In four games against Dallas this year, Randle put up 21.8 points, 11.5 boards and 5.6 helpers per contest, on 66 percent shooting.
As a natural power forward, Randle would also make sense as a compliment to Bamba or Michigan State's Jaren Jackson Jr.. Both of those likely top five picks should slot in as centers in the NBA.
The NBA draft is scheduled to take place at the Barclays Center in New York on June 21st.
Technically, NBA's 2018-19 league year doesn't officially begin until July 1. And no free agent can begin reaching verbal agreements with teams until then.