Zach Randolph

Report: Grizzlies, Zach Randolph contract extension talks stall, he could hit free agent market


It wasn’t as sure a thing as Dirk Nowitzki returning to the Mavericks, but Zach Randolph signing a long-term extension with the Grizzlies was just pretty much a lock in the minds of many around the NBA.

The Grizzlies want Randolph long term, he wants to stay in Memphis, it was just a matter of finding a number that worked for both sides.

That hasn’t happened. The two sides are at an impasse in negotiations and that could put one of the best low post scorers in the NBA on the free agent market, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

The Memphis Grizzlies and forward Zach Randolph have reached an impasse in contract extension talks and the two-time All-Star forward is thinking seriously about triggering his early termination option and becoming a free agent, league sources told Yahoo Sports….

Memphis has held firm on a three-year extension, but Randolph has preferred the security of four years, league sources said.

Randolph, 32, has until June 30 to trigger a $16.5 million player option on the final season of his contract. If he opts out, he can become an unrestricted free agent July 1.

If he hits the free agent market Randolph is not going to make $16.5 million, but he almost certainly would get a four year deal from someone and make a lot of guaranteed money.

Memphis won 50 games last season and has gotten to the Western Conference finals two times in the past four years. Their plan to take the next step banked around improvement with and around their core players — Randolph, Marc Gasol and Mike Conley. With Randolph and Gasol the Grizzlies have as good a front line as there is in the NBA.

Without Randolph, that plan goes the way of the Dodo.

This is the kind of leak put out by one side to put pressure on the other in a negotiation. More than just a cornerstone of the Grizzlies’ on the court plan, Randolph has become and entrenched part of the Memphis community and a very popular player in the city. To lose him would be a blow beyond the court.

Expect the sides to find a way to get this done.

But if not, Randolph will join an increasingly interesting free agent class with LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and other still good big men such as Pau Gasol.

Kings pick up option on G Ben McLemore

Ben McLemore, Rodney Hood
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) The Sacramento have picked up the 2016-17 option on guard Ben McLemore‘s contract.

General manager Vlade Divac announced the move Saturday.

McLemore was Sacramento’s first-round pick in 2013. He averaged 12.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists last season.

Paul George reiterates “I don’t know if I’m cut out for a four spot”

Paul George

In the Pacers first exhibition game of the season Saturday against the Pelicans, Paul George started at the power forward spot and looked healthy — that should be the big takeaway. He also showed off his offensive game in the first quarter, eventually finishing the night with 18 points on 7-of-15 shooting. He forced some shots in the second half and had some defensive challenges, but it was a solid outing for a first preseason game.

George did not see it that way, and that will end up being the big takeaway.

He complained about playing power forward during training camp and given the chance after this one game he did it again, as reported by Candace Buckner of the Indy Star.

“I don’t know if I’m cut out for a four spot,” George said after the Pacers’ 110-105 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, a game in which he started matched up against 6-foot-11 All-Star Anthony Davis.

“I don’t know if this is my position. We’ll sit and watch tape and I’m sure I’ll talk with coach (Frank Vogel). I’ll talk with Larry (Bird) as well to get both their inputs on how the first game went but…I’m still not comfortable with it regardless of the situation. It’s still something I have to adjust to or maybe not. Or maybe it’s something we can go away from.”

George sees himself as a wing, where he has played his entire career. He doesn’t like defending traditional fours, as a scorer he doesn’t like expending all that energy defending pick-and-rolls and banging with bigger bodies. He’s been clear about that.

He still needs to be open to the idea. How much time George gets at the four on any given night should depend on the matchup — and Anthony Davis is about as rough a matchup as he is going to see. Davis scored 18 points in 15 minutes, and the Pelicans controlled the paint against the small-ball Pacers. George had a hard time defending Davis — welcome to a rather large club, PG. That said, George scored 12 points in the first quarter mostly with Davis on him, he pulled the big out in space and got what he wanted.

Back to the matchups point, George will struggle defensively against the best fours in the game (most of whom are in the West). But what about the nights in the East when George would be matched up on Thaddeus Young from Brooklyn, Jared Sullinger (or David Lee, or whoever) from Boston, or Aaron Gordon with the Magic, or Carmelo Anthony with the Knicks when they play small? There are a lot of lineups the Pacers will see where George at the four makes sense.

The Pacers are transitioning from a plodding and defensive-minded squad to a more up-tempo style, and that’s going to take time— a lot more than one preseason game. However, if George is throwing cold water on the plan after this one effort, it might take a lot longer and be a lot bumpier to make that transition than we pictured.