Randle: Teams that want me could be fueling rumors

Randle: Teams that want me could be fueling rumors
June 18, 2014, 10:30 am
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(USA Today Sports Images)

BOSTON -- Julius Randle was in Los Angeles on Tuesday and had another strong workout, this time for the Lakers.

In an effort to move up the draft board, Randle is also doing his part to distance himself from reports about the pin inserted in his right ankle two years ago becoming an issue that may require surgery after the draft.

Following his workout for the Celtics last week, Randle wasn't sure where the speculation about his ankle began.

Now, he believes he has a pretty good idea.

"I think a lot of this comes from maybe some teams [that want] me to fall in the draft to them," Randle told Los Angeles reporters about the foot rumors.

Randle added, "I met with the best foot doctor in the country, and he said he wouldn't do anything for my foot. There's no scheduled surgery or anything. I feel healthy, athletic. I'm moving great -- no problem recovering. I'm ready to go."

While that may be the case, multiple league executives contacted by CSNNE.com have indicated that whatever team drafts Randle will likely "encourage" him to have surgery that'll sideline him for summer league but have him back on the court in time for the start of the season.

"It's not a career-ending kind of thing if he doesn't have anything done," said one league executive who has seen Randle's medical reports. "It's just that if he doesn't do anything and that pin breaks, the recovery time after surgery becomes longer because it becomes a more complicated procedure to fix. That's where the concern comes in."

Randle is on the Celtics' short list of players under consideration with the No. 6 pick, although he is not believed to be their No. 1 or 2 target.

He is arguably the most NBA-ready player in this draft, just behind Duke's Jabari Parker who is expected to be among the first three players taken.

Still, even before the reports about his ankle, there were questions about whether Randle's upside and athleticism were enough to warrant him being a top 5 or six pick ahead of players such as Arizona's Aaron Gordon and Indiana's Noah Vonleh.

"I feel like I'm the best one," Randle told reporters in Los Angeles. "I don't put myself second to anybody."

Most of his basketball career, that has been the case with Randle ranking among the best forwards in the nation coming out of high school. Despite being part of an elite incoming class of freshmen at Kentucky this past season, Randle still set himself apart from the rest.

Despite playing with so many talented players, the 6-9, 250-pound forward appeared in all 40 games as a freshman and led the way with 15 points and 10.4 rebounds per game.

More important, Randle has proven himself to be a winner.

In high school, he led Prestonwood Christian High School in Plano, Texas, to three state titles in four years.

And in his lone season at Kentucky, he was pivotal in the Wildcats advancing to the national championship game (they lost 60-54 to UConn) after overcoming the kind of ups and downs a young team might experience.

In addition to the Celtics and Lakers, Randle has also worked out for the Philadelphia Sixers (No. 3 pick) and Orlando Magic (No. 4).

He will work out for the Jazz (No. 5) next and will likely to meet with Sacramento (No. 8) and potentially Milwaukee (No. 2).