Zach Randolph wants his money and he wants it now.
He was very direct with Tim Povtak of FanHouse when asked about wanting to negotiate a contract extension for after the end of this season and the $17.3 million he is getting paid. He wants a deal in place before the new Collective Bargaining Agreement kicks in.
“I want to do it now,” he told FanHouse Monday before his Grizzlies lost to the Magic, 89-72, in Orlando. “Sooner the better. If we don’t do it now, there are a lot of other teams out there who like me….”
“I’d like to get it out of the way, but they (his agent and the Grizzlies) aren’t really talking right now, at least not that I know of,” he said. “And that’s disappointing. I like playing for this team. I want to stay with this team. I’m a blue-collar player in a blue-collar town, and it’s a good fit. I’m in my prime, and we all know it’s a business, too.”
The sides are not talking and are likely to be far apart. Randolph has had good numbers the last couple years — he averaged 20.8 points and 11.7 rebounds per game last season, this season that is down just slightly to 16 and 10.9, as his minutes are down slightly — but there have been long-standing questions about his defense and real desire to play an all-around game.
With that, the Grizzlies are looking at more like three, years, $40 million, Povtak said. It’s not likely any other team would spend much more than that (although after last summer’s spending spree we’re hesitant with that statement, so maybe it would be “no team should spend more…”). That’s a lot of money but a healthy pay for Z-Bo.
Randolph may well be one of the guys on the free agent market next summer, but once a new CBA is in place (whenever that happens) the numbers the Grizzlies are throwing out now might look generous.