Report: Zach Randolph, Memphis Grizzlies Discussing Long-Term Extension

Grant Hughes@@gt_hughesNational NBA Featured ColumnistMay 26, 2014

The Memphis Grizzlies' decision-makers haven't agreed on much lately, but the desire to keep Zach Randolph in the fold appears to be an exception to that rule.

Per Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:

Randolph, 32, has until June 30 to trigger a $16.5 million player option on the final season of his contract and already had begun preliminary discussions on a long-term extension with Memphis, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

The Grizz are working their way through an awkward, tumultuous power struggle that resulted in the firing of CEO Jason Levien and the near loss of head coach Dave Joerger, so the apparent consensus on Randolph is a welcome sign of stability.

It's hard to know how much Randolph will command in a long-term extension, but given his age, it's fair to assume he won't match the four-year, $66 million deal he signed in 2011. Still, his game figures to age well, as Randolph has never been a guy dependent on athleticism for success.

In fact, there's a chance Randolph will continue to improve. Just wait until his old-man strength kicks in.

Last season, Z-Bo had his best year since 2010-11, posting modest improvements in player efficiency rating, scoring average and rebounding average over his 2012-13 numbers. Plus, he moved the ball better than ever, tallying a career-best 2.7 assists per 36 minutes, according to Basketball-Reference.com.

Wojnarowski reports Randolph has a strong desire to finish his career in Memphis, and his agent, Raymond Brothers, was optimistic about the working relationship with interim general manager Chris Wallace and owner Robert Pera: 

"We have a great level of comfort and trust with Robert Pera and Chris Wallace," Brothers told Yahoo Sports on Monday. "Chris and I have been working together for years. He is a good guy."

If the price is right, Memphis should be ecstatic one of its most iconic (and still highly productive) players wants to stick around. But remember, the Grizzlies are projected to be nearly $6 million over the salary cap next year, per ShamSports.com.

One thing to watch out for from the Grizzlies' perspective: Randolph is at an age where he might feel some extra urgency to cash in. After all, he may not get another chance to sign a big deal before his career comes to an end.

Per James Herbert of CBSSports.com:

Randolph has until the end of June to exercise his $16.5 million option for next season, but he'll be 33 years old in July and this is likely the last time he will be able to get a high-paying, multi-year contract.

If the Grizzlies commit to a hefty deal with Randolph, they might find themselves with limited flexibility when Marc Gasol, the organization's best player, becomes an unrestricted free agent after the 2014-15 season.

There'll no doubt be a balancing act with Randolph's potential extension, as Memphis will want to do right by its power forward while also preserving as much financial wiggle room as possible.

Fortunately, though, it seems the organizational turmoil has died down, and all parties involved are committed to keeping Z-Bo in the Grindhouse for a few more years.

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