Zach Randolph doesn’t want to leave Memphis.
But there are rumors. Ones he is being shopped around — although the ones that he could be moved for Ryan Anderson of the Pelicans have no validity — or that he could bolt as a free agent. It’s all about the money. Memphis is a small market team that isn’t going to pay the luxury tax and Marc Gasol is going to get a big contract again in a couple years. So Randolph could be the odd man out.
Except he doesn’t want to be, he wants to stay put, as he told Fran Blinebury of NBA.com.
“Go figure,” Z-Bo said following the Grizzlies shootaround at New Orleans Arena on Friday. “Memphis is a place that I’ve come to love and call home and it’s where I would definitely like to retire. I haven’t made any secret of that. Everybody out there knows how I feel.
“I look at it like this: I understand it’s a business. I really do understand that. This is a small market team and money plays a factor. I understand all that. It’s different now. I don’t know if it’s just changes in (salary cap) rules or just a change in the way of the world. Like I said, it’s a business.
“But yeah, it bothers me. It hurts a little bit. I can’t deny that. But it goes to show you that there ain’t no loyalty in this game. It seems like you only get loyalty in certain organizations. You see it in winning organizations like the Spurs, the Lakers, the Heat.
“The truth is there ain’t no loyalty or love, except in certain organizations where they keep players around, value them. Only a very few organizations seem like they want to keep players around to retire there.”
If you want know another benefit of the oversized deal for Kobe Bryant or keeping Dwyane Wade on the roster, there it is.
Randolph has a player option for $16.9 million next season. He can make that and stay in Memphis, or at age 32 he can opt out and get one last good contract, one that likely takes him close to the end of his career. He wants that to be in Memphis, a place he believes they have a shot at a title.
But it’s a business. A harsh one at times. Randolph could get moved if the right deal comes along and there will be a lot more rumors with him at the center between now and the trade deadline.