- Dave McMenamin, ESPN Staff Writer
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Los Angeles Lakers fans had to wait out free agency for a max contract-level talent that never came, but the wait to see the franchise’s highest draft pick in 30 years in action is over.
The Lakers signed No. 7 pick Julius Randle to his rookie contract Sunday afternoon approximately an hour before L.A.’s summer league game against the New Orleans Pelicans, the team announced. The 19-year-old forward started the game against New Orleans.
Randle missed the Lakers’ summer league debut, an 88-78 loss to the Toronto Raptors on Friday, as L.A. management wanted to keep Randle’s salary off the books should they need the extra salary cap room to pursue free agents.
Randle was medically cleared to participate in the summer league shortly after the draft when he traveled to Indiana to have his right foot examined by a specialist.
In his lone collegiate season at Kentucky, Randle averaged 15.0 points, 10.4 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 0.8 blocks in 30.8 minutes per game for the Wildcats.