The Memphis Grizzlies have reached an agreement with Zach Ranolph, extending the power forward’s contract another two years and $20 million. Randolph had a player option for the 2014-15 season worth $15.6 million, which he exercised before agreeing to the new two-year deal that starts in 2015-16 and will keep him in Memphis, where he’s repeatedly said he would like to remain. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports first reported the news:
After exercising his $16.5M player option for 2014-’15, Zach Randolph has agreed to 2-year, $20M extension with Memphis, sources tell Yahoo.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 27, 2014
The move is a good one for both sides, depending on your view about how long Randolph will continue to be effective in the NBA. This new two-year deal effectively means Z-Bo will be with the Grizzlies for at least three more years, putting him on a manageable contract during that time and also sending a subliminal message to everyone that Randolph’s best days could be behind him.
This new contract extension also has big implications for free agency in 2015 and 2016, when Marc Gasol and Mike Conley become free agents, respectively. By taking less money over those two years, the Grizzlies will have more flexibility in trying to keep their current core intact.
At 32 years old, Zach Randolph didn’t show many signs of slowing down in 2013-14, averaging 17.4 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. He picked up the burden of Gasol’s knee injury that sidelined the Spaniard for 23 consecutive games and the Grizzlies were a 50-win playoff team in head coach Dave Joerger’s first season.
Randolph has never been pegged as the league’s most athletic player, and he mostly uses his size, strength and mass to bully interior defenders in the paint while employing a wide variety of post moves and an effective stepback jumper to be productive. However, the athleticism Randolph does have is what helps make all those things work, so if this is what an athletic Z-Bo looks like, three years from now at age 35 might not be too pretty.
He’ll likely be overpaid by then, but Zach Randolph has given the Grizzlies franchise a lot of good memories along the way and his willingness to stay with the organization that gave him the best years of his career is rare in a league where super teams are on the rise.