Oct 26, 2012; Memphis, TN, USA; Toronto Raptors forward Andrea Bargnani (right) drives against Memphis Grizzlies guard Jerryd Bayless (left) at the FedEx Forum. Toronto defeated Memphis 120-106. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Zach Randolph for Andrea Bargnani?

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Mar 16, 2012; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies power forward Zach Randolph (50) shoots the ball as he is defended by Toronto Raptors center Andrea Bargnani (7) during the second half at the FedEx Forum. The Toronto Raptors won 114-110. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

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I love Z-Bo as much as the next guy. He’s been the consummate teammate since he arrived in Memphis and an all-star caliber talent for most of his time here. But he’s due $34.3 million dollars over the next two seasons — which at 31-years-old and after a dreadful performance in the WCF makes him an overpaid, above-average player. Nothing more, nothing less.

In turn it wouldn’t be surprised to see the Grizzlies front office – which hasn’t been so shy of cutting any slack of late – attempt to deal Randolph this offseason. Although it’s worth noting that they won’t likely receive an even value for him. That’s just the reality of operating in a small-market.

That said, with Executive of the Year Masai Ujiri settling into his new home in Toronto, he’s made it clear that his top priority is finally unloading the immovable Andrea Bargnani.

Obviously Bargnani isn’t exactly the name that comes to mind when you think of acquisitions that could put a team over the hump for title contention. But at 27-years-old there may be some untapped potential, and his reluctance to rebound is something I could certainly see straightening itself out after some time in the Grindhouse.

There’s also the possibility that being liberated of the expectations that he should be performing at the level of a number-one overall selection could spur his game to the next level. His ability to spread the floor could also prove to be beneficial for the Grizzlies bevy of slashers.

Although regardless of Bargnani’s production, the great equalizer here would be the acquisition of young talent or draft picks alongside him — which would ultimately make this more than the swapping of one bad contract for another.

Follow Joseph Nicks on twitter @josephnicks8.

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Tags: Andrea Bargnani Memphis Grizzlies NBA Playoffs Zach Randolph

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