The Memphis Grizzlies continue to make smart moves so far this offseason. This time by agreeing to extend Zach Randolph's contract two more years.
Randolph picked up his player option for this year at $16.5 million and agreed to a two year $20 million dollar extension that will keep him with the team through the 2016-2017 season. Although Randolph will be entering his 14th year, he hasn't shown any signs of declining.
Z-Bo has recorded averages of a double-double in 8 of 13 seasons played and four of five with Memphis. Randolph has been very durable in his tenure with the Grizz, he's played at least 75 games in four of the five seasons. He plays well down low with Marc Gasol in the frontcourt, and the move today will give them room in 2015 to re-sign Marc Gasol, when he becomes a free agent. In fact with the new contract for Randolph, the Grizzlies have $33 million in space of the estimated $66.5 million the cap will be at for the 2015-2016 season. That gives them plenty of room for Gasol, and possibly other free agents to be.
The Grizzlies don't have much room otherwise in terms of cap space this year, as they are right at the cap limit, with decisons to make on Kosta Koufos (team option at $3 million), and Ed Davis (restricted free agent, qualifying offer of $4.3 million). Mike Miller, James Johnson, Nick Calathes and Beno Udrih will all be unrestricted free agents this offseason. With the cap limit, I'd highly doubt any four of those guys coming back, especially with the new additions from the draft in Jordan Adams and Jarnell Stokes.
Stokes can learn from Randolph especially, as he know's what it's like to be an undersized bruiser at power forward in the league. Randolph is 6'9", 260, while Stokes is nearly identical, at 6'8", 260. Adams brings defense to an already defensive minded team, and can score the basketball too as he averaged 17 PPG in his sophomore year at UCLA. Adams also warrants a great nickname I saw on Twitter, Grizzly Adams.
The remaining rotation should still be in tact with Mike Conley, Courtney Lee, Tayshaun Prince, and Tony Allen. There have been rumors of trading Tayshaun Prince,but nothing ever came about draft night.
This Grizzlies team took Oklahoma City the distance in the first round of the playoffs before bowing out in a tough seven game series. Randolph's one key blunder last year was when he was suspended for Game seven for throwing a punch at the Thunder's Steven Adams. Memphis also had to overcome the injury of Marc Gasol, who missed 23 games due to injury early in the year. Without Gasol, Memphis struggled in the first half as they were 15-19, before finishing 35-13 to end the season.
Memphis has made the playoffs in four straight seasons, with the main nucleus back and draft day additions, expect a fifth straight playoff trip.
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