Randolph’s extension finally a mark of stability in Memphis

By Jeff Caplan, NBA.com

randolph

Zach Randolph has managed to average a double-double in three of the past four seasons. (NBAE via Getty Images)

HANG TIME SOUTHWEST – It’s a good day in Memphis.

The Grizzlies and grit-n-grind specialist Zach Randolph have worked together and come to an agreement on a two-year extension that will keep the skilled and beloved big man in Memphis through at least the 2016-17 season. Randolph, who turns 33 on July 16, opted into the final year of his contract for next season at $16.5 million and then will be owed $10 million in each of the following two seasons.

In essence, it becomes a three-year, $36.5 million deal, very similar to the three-year pact signed last summer by Indiana Pacers power forward David West.

Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski first reported the Randolph extension.

With the chaos that has engulfed the franchise the past two offseasons that saw coach Lionel Hollins let go last summer and then the team’s top two executives fired following this season, this was a move in the name of stability that Memphis had to make.

“It’s cool, man. This is where I want to be,” Randolph told the Memphis Commercial-Appeal shortly after the news broke Friday morning.

Randolph could have opted out of his contract and become a free agent, then signed a new deal that could have lowered his salary for this season and potentially aided the Grizzlies in making roster upgrades when free agency opens next week.

Memphis will be hard-pressed to do much this summer, but will have significant cap space next summer when they’ll likely look to re-sign center Marc Gasol and retool from there.

The 6-foot-9 power forward turned his seventh season in the last eight of averaging a double-double, 17.4 points and 10.1 rebounds, plus a career-best 2.5 assists. He helped Memphis rebound from a slow start under first-year coach Dave Joerger and through a knee injury to Gasol, to win 50 games.

They lost a grueling seven-game, first-round series to Oklahoma City. Randolph’s season disappointingly came to an end in Game 6. The league suspended him for one game for punching Thunder center Steven Adams in the jaw.

In his five seasons in Memphis, the Grizzlies have produced their best five-year period in franchise history. His blue-collar style quickly won over the fan base and by retaining Randolph, the Grizzlies hold onto their identity as a gritty, physical, low-post team in a Western Conference dominated by fast-paced, spread-it-out schemes.

Since losing in the 2013 Western Conference finals to the San Antonio Spurs, Randolph has consistently expressed his desire to remain in Memphis for the remainder of his career. At times, it might have seemed unlikely as a new front-office team took over at the start of last summer and began to shed salary, starting with Rudy Gay.

But that group is now gone and interim general manager Chris Wallace, the Grizzlies’ general manager who traded for Randolph in 2009 and then awarded him a whopping extension, has made sure that Randolph, surely to the delight of the team’s fans, will be sticking around.

9 Comments

  1. Max says:

    Zack (Zebo) Randolph one GREAT Player. Plays from his heart. Memphis so lucky.

  2. amazonsale says:

    Wow for 10mil he would have been a great fit for the heat. but got to give him props for staying loyal

  3. Big Al says:

    I would have loved to see him as part of the Heat. He’s a real beast unlike that sorry excuse for a PF in Chris Bosh.

  4. randomguy says:

    I don’t really like Randolph’s game. While he does certainly give effort, he simply isn’t a good defender. He’s slow, unathletic and not really tall or long enough to be good on that side of the floor. While he certainly is a good offensive player and I don’t blame him for taking the money the Grizzlies offered him, I do believe he is vastly overpaid, he is not worth $16 mil, and the Grizzlies will be hurt by that in free agency this year. Hope the best for them though, I appreciate their brand of basketball.

  5. edrik says:

    when i see the grizz bear logo… i see z-bo’s face… this is perfect for the grizzlies….

  6. imissthethunder says:

    Good for ZBo. He got what he wanted.

  7. SterotypicalHeatFan says:

    Big mistake, if he wanted to win he would join King James & Co.

    • rad says:

      why people really love to praised james? he cannot achieve his promise to all heat fans that he will gonna give them 7 rings…he is going to a new team this season so heat fans wake up coz your dreams are over..