memphis grizzlies zach randolph

Report: Zach Randolph headed to Sacramento on two-year, $24 million contract

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It’s going to be weird seeing Zach Randolph in a uniform other than the Memphis Grizzlies’ blue and white.

It’s sad to see the official end of grit n’ grind in Memphis.

But we knew it was coming, and this is one of the two death blows (the other being when Tony Allen signs somewhere else, too): Zach Randolph is headed to Sacramento on a two-year deal, something broken by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

This seems a bit steep Randolph, who will turn 36 before the start of next season. That said, he can still produce, averaging 14.1 points per game, shot a solid 44.9 percent last season, still can a team buckets around the basket and has a dangerous midrange game. His rebounding isn’t what it once was, but he halted his decline in that area last season. However, as he has aged he has slowed, and he can be a defensive liability.

Randolph took less than he could have gotten elsewhere with his last deal to keep Memphis together, nobody should blame him for getting paid.

I have no idea why Sacramento made this move, in combination with getting George Hill on a three-year, $57 million deal. There is bringing in veterans to mentor — Philly did it with J.J. Redick and Amir Johnson on one-year deals — and there is killing future cap space for players who help you win a little more now more now (if they stay healthy) but don’t get you into the playoffs in the crazy deep West. The Kings did the latter, apparently making desperation moves to end a decade-long playoff drought. They bet on and older player in Randolph and a guy who missed 33 games last year in Hill who has a long history of injury issues.

Sacramento has some nice young pieces to start rebuilding around — Buddy Hield played well after coming over from the Pelicans, Skal Labissiere showed promise late in the year, they just drafted De'Aaron Fox, there’s Willie Cauley-Stein — let them learn on the job and get more, better players on their timeline. The Kings were going to make a play for Otto Porter at the max, which made sense (even though Washington would have matched). They could make a play for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope of Detroit (the Pistons would have to shed salary to match, and they probably would), az Zach Lowe noted.

If the Kings lose a lot this year, it helps their draft pick next year. Keep their powder dry for the summer of 2018 when the free agent market will be tighter, and that money will have more value (plus the Kings don’t have their first round pick in 2019, so winning more works). Sacramento chose not to.

The Kings again seem to be thinking short-term, not long-term, they appear to be thinking about a push for the eighth seed (which is unlikely) rather than building something sustainable for the future. Basically, they remain the Kings.

Utah’s Donovan Mitchell wins throwback Dunk Contest with Vince Carter tribute

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LOS ANGELES — The 2018 Dunk Contest went retro.

And it worked.

The throwbacks started with Cleveland’s Larry Nance Jr. going quick-change to pay tribute to his father, the 1984 winner of the Dunk Contest.

Nance later had the best dunk of the night, but it wasn’t enough in the face of Utah’s Donovan Mitchell‘s strong and consistent night highlight by his throwback dunk — donning a Vince Carter Toronto dinosaur jersey and doing VC’s famed 360 dunk — which got Mitchell the 48 points he needed to hold-off Nance and win the contest. It was over.

“Growing up I was a big dunker,” Mitchell said. “I wasn’t really much of a basketball player. I just dunked and played defense, and I watched a lot of Vince’s videos. I’ve been seeing what he’s been doing all year at his age, which is incredible.

“So I figured, you know, at my size if I was able to get it, it would be a great dunk and a way to finish it, you know. And actually, funny story is I haven’t made that dunk in like half a year. I tried it in practice the past two days and tried it this morning, didn’t make it. Tried it last night, didn’t make it… But to be able to make it was why I was so excited.”

Earlier in the night, Mitchell had done another tribute worn a Darrell Griffith jersey — Utah’s Dr. Dunkenstien, who went to Louisville like Mitchell — for an off-the-side-of-the-backboard jumping over Kevin Hart dunk.

“You know, just knowing your history, I think, is the biggest thing,” Mitchell said of the throwbacks. “Just understanding where this game originated, I guess the OGs of the game, I guess you would call it. But just understanding. Even if it’s just dunking. Whether it’s dunking in the NBA in general, Darrell Griffith, we went to the same school in college. I know Darrell very well. Both got drafted by the Jazz, and he was an incredible player. To be able to pay homage to him meant a lot to me.”

For my money, Nance had the dunk of the night, his first in the Finals, a double off-the-backboard throwdown that you had to see on replay to get (it wasn’t as evident in the building what he had done until it was re-shown on the big screen).

It was a fun contest all night long.

Mitchell (the leader in the Rookie of the Year race) started it off brilliantly — he brought out a second backboard, and did a self-alley-oop off one to the other.

Larry Nance Jr. did his tribute to his father with his first dunk, and on his second one came from behind the backboard, going around the world, and threw it down hard. That got him into the Finals.

Oladipo missed all three of his dunks in the first round, which almost doomed his night. He, however, did a dunk wearing the Black Panther mask for his second dunk, which impressed.

Mitchell said he wanted to beat Dennis Smith Jr. because the Mavericks’ point guard had beaten him in dunk contests for years. Smith had one monster dunk, when he went between the legs and threw it down hard and got the full 50. It just wasn’t enough to get Smith to the Finals.

Nance started off the final round by bringing out his father again to throw an alley-oop to a windmill. Mitchell responded with a self-alley-oop to a windmill that was flat-out wicked. That got Mitchell a 50-46 lead after one round of the Finals.

Then Mitchell went to Vince Carter and “it was over.”

Larry Nance Jr. throws alley-oop to himself, throws alley-oop to himself (video)

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LOS ANGELES — Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. immediately motioned for the replay to be shown of this dunk. It was necessary to properly appreciate it.

Best dunk of the night.

Donovan Mitchell won the dunk contest, though.

Larry Nance Jr. plays tribute to father — rock-the-cradle dunk in Suns uniform

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LOS ANGELES — Back in 1984, high-flying Larry Nance Sr. won the first NBA All-Star Dunk Contest with this set of dunks — most famously a rock-the-cradle move.

Larry Nance Jr. came into the 2018 Dunk Contest and went nostalgic — all the way back to the Suns’ throwback uniform and the same dunk.

That and a good second dunk got him into the Dunk Contest finals. In that round, Nance Sr. threw an alley-oop to his son for the windmill.

Donovan Mitchell throws alley-oop to himself – off second backboard (video)

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LOS ANGELES – Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell set a high standard with the first slam of the 2018 dunk contest.

Very creative. Very well-executed.

Looks like all that preparation paid off.