As we all know, the National Basketball Association (NBA) is dead serious in controlling the ascension of “super teams.” With this, it has imposed a stricter salary cap that will make general managers think twice before signing marquee players.
For the Los Angeles Lakers, Brooklyn Nets (they’ll pay $80 million in luxury tax alone this year), the Miami Heat, among others, the luxury tax is a challenge and not a hindrance and they’ll do what it takes get a run at the title. This is not the case with a small market team like the Memphis Grizzlies; as such, they have a very serious decision to make come next season: should they trade or keep Zach Randolph AKA Z-Bo.
If you’re a hardcore NBA fan and you follow the games even on the Internet or on innovative sources like NBA odds mobile, you know that Randolph is playing so-so basketball this season. As per basketball-reference.com, in eight games he averaged 12.6 points per game, 8.1 rebounds, and 1.6 assists. That’s not something that you should expect from a $ 16.9 million dollar guy.
Putting the said factors into consideration, it is better for the Memphis Grizzles to just let go of their star forward and trade him. Randolph’s salary is quite high for the numbers he’s producing. Plus, Ed Davis (the team’s promising backup forward) will be a restricted free agent this coming offseason after failing to sign with the team at the start of the season.
In a perfect world, the team can keep both players, but this scenario is a bit complicated because money will play a major role for this to work. They should consider their move last year when they traded away Rudy Gay to clear some cap space.
Bear in mind that the Grizzlies’ salary cap next season estimated at $62 million dollars, add the luxury tax, it could shoot as high as $75.7 million.
If the Memphis Grizzlies decide to keep Randolph, they’ll have a natural power forward that has a very high basketball IQ—a unique attribute—that compensates for his lack of athleticism. If you carefully watch games, you’ll notice that Z-Bo positions himself very well to snag rebounds against the league’s young and athletic players.
In a notable article that was printed last year, Jonathan Abrams of Grantland.com praised Z-Bo’s exceptional basketball IQ, “Randolph rarely gets enough credit for his game, his positioning, his craftiness in the post. It’s so natural, it almost seems innate.” Simply put, his cunning ability to corral rebounds in the defensive and offensive end makes him a valuable commodity.
To be fair, Randolph is a good player and it’ll be difficult to find someone who’s willing to slug it out with Blake Griffin, Serge Ibaka, Tim Duncan, Dwight Howard, and Anthony Davis, among others. However, even if the team decided to shell out huge sums of money to keep both Randolph and Davis, the former’s subpar production this season is a clear indication that it’s not worth it.
His skill set can be better utilized with a young team whose players can benefit from his advice and experience. Such move might somewhat rejuvenate his career and enable him to become a better contributor.
Furthermore, while he won’t be able to dominate the stat sheet, his tenacity to get rebounds is something that many teams covet, especially those who have their eye on the title.