It appears Zach Randolph will remain with the Memphis Grizzlies.
Whether his tenure with the team will last beyond the Feb. 20 NBA trade deadline is still uncertain.
According to multiple media reports, Grizzlies officials earlier this week said they have no immediate plans to trade their star power forward, a two-time All-Star who was the catalyst of the team’s postseason success in recent years.
After learning of the latest developments surrounding his possible trade, Randolph said he’s “relieved,” reiterating, among things, that he wants to retire as a member of the organization.
“They know I want to be here,” Randolph told MemphiSport following the Grizzlies’ shootaround Saturday morning in the team’s practice facility. “I’ve been here. They know I want to retire here.”
Now in his fifth season with Memphis following brief stints with Portland, the New York Knicks, and Los Angeles Clippers, Randolph initially became the subject of trade talks earlier this month when he reportedly was being rumored to be dealt to the New Orleans Pelicans for fellow big Ryan Anderson.
Then, according to various media reports, “a reliable NBA insider” on Dec. 19 reported that the Brooklyn Nets were contemplating preparing a package that would send 16-year veteran Paul Pierce and future draft picks to the Grizzlies for Randolph, a two-time All-Star who is in his 13th NBA season.
While the Pelicans and Grizzlies have strongly denied having discussed a trade that centered on Randolph and Anderson, Randolph — who admittedly was “hurt” after learning the team reportedly was considering shopping him — said he isn’t sure why he is constantly being rumored to be dealt, although he believes his current contract might be the underlying factor as the trade deadline looms.
Randolph, 32, is in the third of a four-year deal that is worth $71 million. Although the Marion, Ind. native has a player option for next year, Randolph would generate in the neighborhood of $16 million if he returns to the Grizzlies for the 2013-14 campaign.
“I don’t know…money,” Randolph said, explaining why his name keeps swirling surrounding a possible trade. “Small market team. You know, money plays a part. It’s the money.”
Regardless of what transpires as the trade deadline approaches, Randolph said his primary focus in the meantime is help revitalize an injury-ridden Grizzlies team that entered Saturday night’s game against Denver four games below the .500 mark. Losers of six of their last nine, Memphis, which advanced to the Western Conference Finals last year after posting the highest winning percentage (.063) in franchise history, currently is 3 ½ games back for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.
Randolph scored a team-high 20 points on 8-of-15 shooting in 30-plus minutes Saturday to help lift the Grizzlies to their largest margin of victory this season in FedExForum, 120-99, over the Nuggets.
“Like I said, I’m going to be professional either way,” Randolph, the Grizzlies’ second-leading scorer, said when asked to assess the team’s decision to dismiss trade talks. “I’m going to play hard every night. It’s a job. I’m going to come out and be professional and do my job.”