Since coming to the Memphis Grizzlies in 2009, Zach Randolph has established a connection with the city and its fans that few stars in the league have achieved. That all could be in jeopardy, though, as Randolph's name has come up in trade rumors that could send the All-Star power forward to the New Orleans Pelicans, per Bleacher Report's Jared Zwerling.
“Go figure,” Z-Bo said following the Grizzlies shootaround at New Orleans Arena on Friday.
“Memphis is a place that I’ve come to love and call home and it’s where I would definitely like to retire. I haven’t made any secret of that. Everybody out there knows how I feel.
“I look at it like this: I understand it’s a business. I really do understand that. This is a small market team and money plays a factor. I understand all that. It’s different now. I don’t know if it’s just changes in (salary cap) rules or just a change in the way of the world. Like I said, it’s a business.
“But yeah, it bothers me. It hurts a little bit. I can’t deny that. But it goes to show you that there ain’t no loyalty in this game. It seems like you only get loyalty in certain organizations. You see it in winning organizations like the Spurs, the Lakers, the Heat.
“The truth is there ain’t no loyalty or love, except in certain organizations where they keep players around, value them. Only a very few organizations seem like they want to keep players around to retire there. Hey, everybody gets traded. It’s part of the league, part of the life. I’ve been traded a bunch of times.”
The deal would send Z-Bo, who's averaging 15.9 points, 9.2 boards and 1.9 assists on 47.4 percent shooting to the Pelicans for sharpshooter Ryan Anderson, according to Zwerling.
Randolph has a mammoth player option for 2014-15 worth $16.9 million, and the Grizzlies may see the 25-year-old Anderson as a better long-term fit.
Zwerling also notes the potential of pairing a stretch-4 like Anderson with an inside scorer and passer like center Marc Gasol, whose game overlaps somewhat with Randolph's.
The trade actually makes more sense for Memphis than New Orleans though, since the Pelicans would be giving up an improving young player under contract through 2016 for a pricey veteran who could opt out after 2013-14.
Given that New Orleans is more than one player away from a title it's unlikely that they would pull the trigger on a deal like this without receiving additional players or draft picks.
The Grizzlies need Randolph to continue playing hard, as the team fell to just 10-12 after losing to New Orleans. Memphis is currently tied for 12th in the Western Conference with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Randolph had 13 points, 10 rebounds and three assists against the Pelicans, who could wind up being his team when all is said and done.
Randolph is not new to the trade block; the gifted scorer was dealt to the New York Knicks in a 2007 draft-day deal along with Dan Dickau, Fred Jones and Demetris Nichols for Steve Francis, Channing Frye and a 2008 second-rounder and to the Los Angeles Clippers in 2008 with Mardy Collins for Cuttino Mobley and Tim Thomas.
Z-Bo even ended up in Memphis via trade; he was sent to the Grizzlies straight up for Quentin Richardson.
He was in trade rumors last season as well, according to CBS Sports' Matt Moore.
Still, you can't help but feel for Z-Bo, who spent several tumultuous years with the Portland Trail Blazers, Knicks and Clippers before finally finding a home in Memphis.