Should the Memphis Grizzlies Consider Amnestying Zach Randolph?

Garrett JochnauCorrespondent IISeptember 14, 2012

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 15:  Forward Zach Randolph #50 of the Memphis Grizzlies reacts during a 90-105 loss against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Seven of the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 15, 2011 at Oklahoma City Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  The Thunder defeated the Grizzlies to advance to the Western Conference Finals.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Before the summer began, the Memphis Grizzlies made it perfectly clear that Zach Randolph's spot on the team was not secure.

The trade that made news was a Zach Randolph-Pau Gasol swap, bringing Pau back to the city in which his illustrious career began.

Since the trade proved to be unsuccessful, if the Grizzlies want to dump Randolph and his heavy contract, the easiest way to do so may be through amnesty.

The amnesty clause was originally put to use by teams whose rosters were occupied by players with mediocre talent and a bad contract. No team seemed inclined to use it on any starting player or role player—that is, until Houston elected to use theirs on Luis Scola.

Scola had a more than sufficient campaign with the Rockets, and from a talent standpoint, he in no way deserved to be forced out. However, the Rockets demonstrated another use of the amnesty clause.

Instead of just ridding themselves of an unwanted player, they elected to part ways with an established starter whose contract could be put to greater use through the signing of a free agent.

The Grizzlies' current predicament with Randolph is quite similar to that of Houston, and if the Grizzlies and Randolph were to part ways, Memphis would find themselves in a much better situation financially.

However, the Grizzlies would be foolish to make such a choice, despite the economic benefits they would receive.

During the 2010-11 playoffs, Zach Randolph became the Grizzlies leader in the wake of Rudy Gay's injury that sidelined him for the rest of the season. Randolph took the opportunity and ran with it, leading his eighth-seeded Grizzlies past the top-ranked Spurs in the first round, displaying heaps of talent in the process.

Last year's playoff run was cut short in the first round, but the Grizzlies still proved to be a tough competitor during their seven-game series with the Los Angeles Clippers.

They may not be a top-tier team, but with Randolph, Gay and Marc Gasol, the team is just one step away from becoming a title contender.

However, bidding farewell to one of the best power forwards in the league, who also happens to arguably be the team's best player, would not be a step in the right direction.

Memphis has shown vast improvement over the past few seasons, and no major changes are necessary as of now. Should the team look into trading a star, Rudy Gay may be the better option.

While I don't approve of letting go if either of these two stars, the Grizzlies could receive more for Gay, and Randolph has already proven that he can lead the team without the help of the small forward.

Still, the team should stand pat for now, until they are officially ruled out as legitimate contenders.