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.