On the final day of voting for the Kia Community Assist Award, many in Grizz Nation were scrambling to cast their votes for Memphis’ own adopted son and Blue Collar Champion, Zach Randolph by using the hashtags #KIACommunityAssist & #ZachRandolph, which is fitting being that this approaching off-season, fans may be also in return asking Z-Bo to “do them a solid.” Randolph, whose off the court random acts of kindness have included paying utility bills, giving out free tickets, delivering food baskets for thanksgiving and hosting free basketball camps for inner city youth, has a difficult decision to make in the coming months concerning his player option on his contract that owes him $16.5 million, and in this edition of Noise From The Sain Asylum, I will discuss the three options as well as how they can effect the team this off-season and ultimately next season.
Zach Can Opt-In and Take The $16.5 Million That He Is Due
This option would be less than ideal because it would make it difficult to sign other free agents this off-season as well leave uncertainty about the power forward position past next season. Even with Zach having a better season statistically this season than he did in 2012-13 when he made the All-Star game, it’s hard to justify that he should demand such a lofty salary considering that the team has other positions of need that should be addressed – such as perimeter scoring and play-making. Of course, Zach has to do what’s best for himself going forward and it’s easy for a fan to decide that he should leave $16.5 million guaranteed on the table. But if Randolph feels that he can still get another $9-12 million per year deal after next season, I could very well see a scenario where the soon to be 33 year old Randolph opts-in with the expectation that he still has a few good years left in the tank to perform at a high level. In turn I could also see this prompting the front office to look at trade options for Zach that would be more efficient for the long term goals of the team.
Zach Can Opt-Out and Re-Sign With The Grizzlies For A Lesser Amount
This option is probably the preferred option by both the fans and the front office. It would be ideal for Zach to consider our cap restrictions and free up some space to give us more flexibility as well as sign a deal that would guarantee him to be here past the 2014-15 season. Some have suggested that a 3 year $30 million dollar deal would be enough to sway Randolph into opting out and some also say that adding a 4th year may also be needed to sweeten the deal. Zach choosing to opt out and resign with us would be amazing of course but you have to consider that it is really asking for a lot if you look at from the viewpoint that he is scheduled to make more than half of that next season alone. Making a decision to opt-out and resign here would probably cement Zach Randolph as even more of a beloved Grizz by the fans and also show the front office that he is committed to the future of the franchise as well.
Zach Can Opt-Out and Simply Sign With Another Team
Although most would assume that this is the least likely scenario to happen, there is no guarantee that Zach will opt-in with an outcome that is favorable to Grizz Nation. If Zach thinks that the grass may be greener on another team and feels like he has a better opportunity to win a championship somewhere else, he may very well bolt on the Grizz and move on. I, as well as the vast majority of fans probably can’t imagine this ever coming to pass especially considering Randolph’s consistent stance on being committed to this city and its fans. It’s also not beyond belief that the Grizz may offer Randolph a deal that isn’t in his favor, or one that is missing a key element that is crucial to him like a no-trade clause, a 4th year, or a player option, which would cause him to want to look elsewhere. With this being the most unlikely option to happen in my opinion, it is clearly the one that would probably crush the committed fans of Zach Randolph and the Memphis Grizzlies, the most.