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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.

Zach Randolph Kendrick Perkins

Trade Him

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.

Keep Him

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.

Summing up

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.

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4 Responses to What To Do With Zach Randolph?

  1. grizzdocNo Gravatar says:

    Excuse me?! In what world has Ed Davis shown any sign whatsoever that he will develop into even a fraction of the player that ZBo is?! Subpar production this season by Zach? What do you call the production by Ed Davis? Granted, Davis hasn’t had much playing time, but he alone is to blame for that by making bone headed plays and showing that he has limited offensive skills, an inability to finish around the basket, a dreadful free throw shot, and a basketball IQ that parallels that of Stromile Swift.

    Just look at what ZBo did tonight against the Lakers. This player still has the ability to put the team on his back and win games for them, especially when the lights are brightest and against the big name teams. You’re not even mentioning the intangible aspect–that he, along with Tony Allen, is the heart and soul of this team who founded the grit and grind mantra. Yes, his salary is prohibitively high next season, but he has already said that he is willing to take less to stay here next season; who really knows how much of a pay cut he might take, but don’t you think that’s a relevant point that merits some kind of mention in your article?

    Obviously, you can tell that I have a lot of emotion invested in what ZBo means to Memphis, but there are no numbers to support your premise. You can talk about Zach’s lower production this season, but when shipping him off is predicated on the assumption that Ed Davis will take his role, how can you ignore the deplorable numbers from Davis?!

    I have to say, this is a terrible analysis with glaring holes and shows a complete lack of insight into Grizzlies basketball. Shame on you 3SOB, we deserve better.

    • RaganSmashNo Gravatar says:

      Hear, hear! As an addition on stats, if you count his game tonight and eliminate the game he left early due to the birth of his son, his very small sample of 8 games shoots to 15.9 PPG and 9.5 RPG.

      I have seen very little of Ed so far to make me think he’s any sort of heir apparent.

  2. Zbo50isabeastNo Gravatar says:

    I agree 100% with grizzdoc. Zbo means more to this team than stats can ever show. As much as I wish that Ed was the obvious replacement for Zach, he hasn’t shown it. He has bad touch, low intensity, and an overall lack of efficiency and production on both ends of the court. The Grizz are too good of a team to play an unproductive player major minutes in the hopes of him developing. Coach joerger knows that.
    Zbo wants to stay, so let him stay!!

  3. kingfishNo Gravatar says:

    Trade Davis now and get something for him. He’s nothing we need or should want.

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