The Memphis Grizzlies were hoping to lock up Zach Randolph long-term this offseason, but they are running into some difficulty getting something done. They have hit a snag in talks and it appears that Randolph is seriously considering testing the open market rather than working longer to get a deal done with Memphis.
According to a report from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, Randolph is considering using his early termination option to get out of his contract and hit unrestricted free agency.
Raymond Brothers, Randolph’s agent, has been in contract talks with Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace for the past few weeks. The two sides have hit an impasse on a new contract, and it is unknown exactly what the issue is. Speculation has come out that the issue could be Randolph wanting four years on his new deal, with the Grizzlies making it clear that they don’t want to go above three years.
Randolph has been one of the most important pieces of a Grizzlies team that has competed very well in a tough Western Conference. They lost to the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals two years ago, and had a hard-fought battle in the first round of the playoffs with the Oklahoma City Thunder this past season. It has been very obvious how important Randolph has been in those two runs, and losing him would be very tough for the Grizzlies.
That being said, Memphis does have a very solid backup plan if they do lose Randolph to free agency. They would simply turn around and offer the same type of three-year deal to Pau Gasol and likely would be able to pair him with his brother Marc in the front-court. Pau has been very interested in playing with his brother, and rumors have been floating around that he would likely accept a deal if Memphis offered one to him.
Last season with the Grizzlies, Randolph played in and started 79 games. He averaged 17.4 points and 10.1 rebounds per game, and he was a great leader for Memphis as well. Overall, it will be very intriguing to see if this news makes the Grizzlies cave in to Randolph’s demands. They know that he is a fan favorite and an important piece, but they still have other options as well. Expect more news to break about this with free agency coming up very soon.