When we talk about top free agents who could opt out in the next week or so — Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, etc. — Zach Randolph rarely gets mentioned. The guy who averaged 17.4 points and 10 rebounds a game for the Grizzlies last season has an option on his $16.9 million for next season. He can opt out.
The reason he doesn’t come up? Nobody thinks he’s leaving Memphis.
He has said before he wants to stay and Memphis GM (for now) Chris Wallace said that if Randolph opts out they will work out a deal to keep him, Wallace told the Commercial Appeal.
“We’re very excited about what Zach’s done in the past and hope to have him here in the future. This has really been a terrific boon for both sides. He’s obviously meant a great deal to us on and off the court. And Memphis has worked for him. This has been, by far, the best stop for him since he’s been in the NBA. So we’re working towards that goal.”
Randolph’s next contract will be for less than $16.9 million, but he likely is willing to take less in the short term for the security of more years for a player who turns 33 this summer. Memphis likely would go three years with an option for a fourth year for more than $50 million total, and it’s hard to see Randolph turning that down. He likes where he is at.
This would be helpful to a Grizzlies team currently well over the cap — they don’t gain a lot of financial flexibility but they gain some to add some help at the three and more shooting to the roster.
If Randolph opts out (and I expect he will) other teams will call, but he’s not leaving the land of good barbecue.
Any controversy over C.J. McCollum‘s suspension for the season-opener should be put to rest. The Trail Blazers fared fine without him.
More than fine.
Portland beat the Suns, 124-76, Wednesday. The 48-point margin is the largest ever in a season opener, even as the Trail Blazers let a 58-point fourth-quarter lead dwindle.
Here are the most lopsided season-openers in NBA history (openers for both teams appearing twice):
The 48-point defeat is also the Suns’ worst lost in franchise history, topping a 44-point loss to the Seattle SuperSonics in 1988. It could be a long year in Phoenix.
Marcus Smart and Matthew Dellavedova thrive on aggravating opponents, so when matched up, of course they aggravated each other.
Deduct points from Smart for pulling the hold-me-back charade behind a referee. Plus, Dellavedova’s Bucks beat Smart’s Celtics, 108-100.
The Nets’ projected record this season came under greater scrutiny when the Celtics traded Brooklyn’s unprotected first-round pick to the Cavaliers in the Kyrie Irving trade. After finishing third-to-last and last the previous two years, were the Nets poised to take a step forward, or would they convey a very high pick to the Cavs?
Jeremy Lin, who missed 46 games last season, getting healthy was a reason for optimism in Brooklyn and pessimism in Cleveland. But it appears the veteran guard could be out a while.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Billy Reinhardt of Nets Daily:
If the injury is as bad as feared, what a bummer for Lin. He came to Brooklyn expecting to play a leading role on a developing team, and he just can’t stay healthy.
The Nets were probably more focused on developing their younger players, but – especially without their own draft picks – there was no harm in shooting for the playoffs. This appears to a blow to that (already unlikely) dream.
It’s a boon to the Cavaliers, though. And whenever something significantly affects LeBron James‘ team, it has ramifications into the entire power dynamic of the Eastern Conference. For an injury to a player on a team most expect to be bad, the medical developments here will be tracked closely around the league.
Remember when Aaron Gordon was a promising fun player?
The Magic sidetracked him by playing him at small forward most of last season. But back at power forward, Gordon showed how he could push the pace as a four in Orlando’s season-opening win over the Heat.
There’s obviously flair in passing to yourself off the backboard, but it’s a sound way to improve position. Gordon did that to fantastic effect.