As Adrian Wojnarowski reports, the two camps have been negotiating a contract extension for weeks but they have now reached an impasse. They disagree on the length of the deal; Memphis are offering Randolph a three year deal but Randolph insists on a fourth year. They also disagree on the amount of money.
Z-Bo has until June 30 to exercise a $16.5M player option. Otherwise he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
It’s difficult to imagine a Memphis team without Zach Randolph. He is synonymous with the city’s “grit and grind” culture and synonymous with the team’s success.
Zach Randolph has indicated on numerous occasions that he wants to stay with the Grizzlies for the rest of his career, and if nothing is worked out soon he could opt in for next season and hope the situation is resolved at a later date.
However, if he doubts the Grizzlies’ willingness to commit to him he may choose to depart now to prevent a potential fall in his perceived value. He turns 33 next month and a serious injury or performance decline could hinder his leverage in future contract negotiations.
A decline isn’t likely though. The remarkably consistent Randolph has averaged 19 points and ten rebounds since his third year in the league (basketball-reference.com), and his game, much like Tim Duncan or Pau Gasol, isn’t dependant on athleticism. Realistically, he could play well into his late thirties without drastic decline.
Zach Randolph and fellow big man Marc Gasol form the nucleus of the Grizzlies squad, and if Memphis fail to secure Randolph they risk dismantling the equilibrium of a close knit team and embarking on a downward spiral.