After a week that pointed to a huge revamp of the Memphis Grizzlies, one that included many rumors regarding front office moves and coaching changes alike, the dust has settled. Continuity has emerged as the unlikely result; at least for now.
It looks like coach Dave Joerger will return to the team for the upcoming season. Will Zach Randolph do the same?
Of course the Grizzlies would want their leading scorer back in the fold at the right price. With little flexibility to dramatically improve the roster in the event that Randolph bolts, signing the forward to an extension makes perfect sense. Yahoo! Sports reports that said extension is currently being discussed:
Randolph, 32, has until June 30 to trigger a $16.5 million player option on the final season of his contract and already had begun preliminary discussions on a long-term extension with Memphis, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Randolph is an extremely popular figure in the Memphis community, and has expressed a strong desire to finish his career in the city where his NBA career has truly blossomed.
Randolph has talked directly with Pera in the past week and he and his agent Raymond Brothers sensed a serious commitment to keep Randolph in Memphis with a new deal.
I would expect the contract to be something like a three-year deal, perhaps in the neighborhood of $36-40 million. Anything more would hamstring the franchise, anything less is a bargain.
Getting the deal done early would be beneficial to Memphis. With their core intact, the focus could then shift to gathering the pieces necessary to take the next step in the postseason. A decision could also be made on young big man Ed Davis, who would be the logical replacement if talks with Z-Bo broke down. Even draft decisions could be effected by Randolph’s status. In other words, the offseason roster-shaping will begin with the Zach Randolph domino.
Of course, the discussions are preliminary, and compensation will be a hurdle for both sides to overcome. This is likely Zach’s last big payday, but the Grizzlies are not going to overpay for a 32-year-old power forward when Marc Gasol’s contract is looming.
It looks like Randolph wants to stay put in Memphis, although it may come down to how deep the hometown discount extends.