By LARRY VAUGHT
What a night for former Kentucky players in the NBA.
Julius Randle, a restricted free agent, agreed to a two-year, $18 million deal with the New Orleans Pelicans after spending his first four years in the league with the Los Angeles Lakers — who just added LeBron James.
Of course, one of Randle’s teammates at New Orleans will be former UK star Anthony Davis — who apparently lobbied hard for Randle to join the team.
Randle averaged a career-high 16.1 points and 8.0 rebounds per game and shot a career-best 55.8 percent from the field last season.
However, the Pelicans lost former UK star DeMarcus Cousins, an unrestricted free agent, when he stunned many by signing a one-year, $5.3 million deal with defending champion Golden State according to Yahoo Sports.
Cousins tore his Achilles tendon in late January. In 48 games last season, Cousins averaged 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.6 blocks per game before his season ended.
Cousins was a four-time All-Star and he’ll now team with All-Stars Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green when he’s cleared to play in the early part of the season if all goes as expected.
Before the injury, Cousins was expected to command a huge deal but apparently has decided finishing his rehab and having a chance to win a NBA championship makes a one-year deal enough for him.
The Pelicans also took a hit when former UK point guard Rajon Rondo decided to sign with the Lakers for a one-year deal worth $9 million where he will compete with Lonzo Ball for the starting spot.
If that wasn’t enough, Nerlens Noel agreed to a two-year deal with Oklahoma City for the league minimum of about $250,000. His career seems to have hit bottom, but he is still only 24 and ready for another chance.