According to Ronald Tillery of the Commercial Appeal, the organization has decided to forge on with its captain on the roster for the remainder of the season.
There was much speculation that Randolph—who is owed $16.5 million for this season and $17.8 in 2013-14 and holds a player option worth $16.5 in 2014-15—would be traded in a cost-cutting move.
Retaining him was a wise call, considering the team has stumbled after a hot start to the 2012-13 campaign and hasn’t been the same since flipping star swingman Rudy Gay to the Toronto Raptors in late January.
That six-player deal cleared Grizzlies owner Robert Pera of Gay’s exorbitant $53 million salary over the remainder of this season and the next two.
It came right on the heels of another cap-clearing transaction, one in which Memphis dumped off Marreese Speights, Wayne Ellington, Josh Selby and a first-rounder for the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Jon Leuer in order to save $6 million in payroll.
Because the Grizz have only managed to win one of the four games played since Gay was sent north of the border, this squad clearly needs to avoid more turnover—especially if they wish to turn things around and stay on course for the playoffs in the competitive West.
The franchise is sitting at 30-18, good for the No. 5 seed in the conference, but only a few games ahead of the eighth-seeded Houston Rockets (27-24).
Z-Bo has been one of the few consistent players on the roster over the past few seasons, and he has contributed a steady 15.7 points and 11.7 rebounds per game this year. While the power forward was generally regarded as a locker room nightmare in his formative years, the 12-year veteran has matured into a leader, setting the tone for the team both vocally and by example.
The Grizzlies may no longer be a true NBA Finals contender without Gay in the lineup, but as long as Z-Bo is on the roster, they will at least have a cornerstone to build around and make a few more postseason runs with.