Memphis Grizzlies v Oklahoma City Thunder - Game Five

Zach Randolph opts in, gets extension from Grizzlies


Zach Randolph has repeatedly expressed his desire to stay in Memphis.

He had a $16,938,333 player option for next season, but that was only a bargaining chip – not a mechanism to leave the Grizzlies.

The negotiations worked.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Really, this works well for both sides.

Randolph’s 2014-15 cap hit remains $16,938,333, but the Grizzlies wouldn’t have had cap room this summer even if Randolph had opted out and re-signed with the same salary spread equally over three years.

Now, he’ll make less in 2015 (when Marc Gasol becomes a free agent) and 2016 (when Mike Conley becomes a free agent).

Randolph will be 35 when this contract ends, and he’s more reliant on athleticism than both believe. By the end of the deal, the power forward could be significantly overpaid.

But he values loyalty, and with this extension, the Grizzlies proved they share the same mindset. This not only keeps Randolph in Memphis, it makes it easier for the Grizzlies to keep Gasol and Conley too.

Somebody looks comfortable: Paul George drops 20 in first quarter

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Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.

His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.

George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).

As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.

Is DeMarcus Cousins MVP worthy? “It’s mine to grab”

DeMarcus Cousins

Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.

This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?

He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.

The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.

“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”

As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.

“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”

Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.

I think Cousins can help provide that.

I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.