Nov 4, 2013, 4:58 PM EST
This summer Zach Randolph can and most likely will opt out of the last year of his contract. He will walk away from $16.5 million guaranteed to seek the security of a longer deal, but that raises questions for Memphis. At age 32 now, how long do they want to sign him for? And if they might lose him to another team, is the smart move to trade him at the deadline this season and get something in return?
Through all that, Randolph wants to stay with a Grizzlies team that made the conference Finals last season and is hoping to build on that.
“I’d like to be here. I’d like to retire here. You never know. If I’ve got to make some sacrifices to be here, I would. I still can play. I can still help a team out. I want to win a championship. I’ve made all the money in the world. I just want to win. I don’t know yet [about opting in or opting out], but Memphis is my home. If they trade me tomorrow, I’m here. I just bought a new house. My daughters go to school [in Memphis]. That’s my home.”
That he would take a pay cut to stay is certainly good news, although how much of a cut remains to be seen. Would he take four years at $8-9 million per year?
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If Memphis is trying to build a contender, the question it has to ask itself is if you do that better around Mike Conley, Marc Gasol and somebody other than Randolph? There have been rumors that the Grizzlies are quietly seeing what the market for Randolph would be. The question isn’t can Randolph contribute but more one of fit — can their big, grit-and-grind lineup thrive as a number of other teams go smaller? Do they need to move Randolph to get the other pieces they need?
Which is to say, even if Zach wants to stay it may be out of his hands.
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