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.