Memphis Grizzlies power forward Zach Randolph has a big decision looming this upcoming offseason, with the choice to either collect the $16.5 million he's owed in 2014-15 or opt out and seek a new long-term deal.
While Randolph doesn't know what he wants to do just yet, he told ESPN's Marc Stein that he wants to retire a Grizzly:
"I'd like to be here. I'd like to retire here. You never know. If I've got to make some sacrifices to be here, I would. I still can play. I can still help a team out. I want to win a championship. I've made all the money in the world. I just want to win. I don't know yet [about opting in or opting out], but Memphis is my home. If they trade me tomorrow, I'm here. I just bought a new house. My daughters go to school [in Memphis]. That's my home."
This season is the fifth for Randolph in Memphis. Randolph and Marc Gasol have teamed up to form one of the best frontcourts in the league, with Randolph being a double-double machine and Gasol acting as the anchor of the defense.
Randolph isn't the same guy who averaged 20-plus points per game in his first two seasons in Memphis, as age and the physical pounding he takes down low are starting to take a toll. Still, the big man remains productive and should have a few good years left in him.
Considering the Grizzlies' small market stature, it would be beneficial if Randolph opted out and then re-signed on a smaller contract. This could free up some flexibility and perhaps allow the Grizzlies to make some upgrades to the roster. However, $16.5 million for one season is a lot to turn down, and it would be hard to blame Randolph for opting in.
There have been some rumors that the Grizzlies are trying to move Randolph and his big contract, which would pave the way for youngster Ed Davis to get more playing time. But Randolph says he can block out any kind of rumors that may be out there:
"I can block it out. I've done been through it before. They tell you one thing and tomorrow it's a different story. ... That's the business part of the game. They tell you you're there and trade you tomorrow. But I've been through it."
Through three games this season, Randolph is averaging 13.0 points and 10.3 rebounds as the Grizzlies have started 1-2.