After the Memphis Grizzlies moved Rudy Gay to Toronto, many people wondered why owner Robert Pera hadn’t said much. The Memphis community isn’t use to an owner who doesn’t speak often.
Due to that silence and a couple rumors that had been floated around the league, fans thought Zach Randolph, who’s the best player in Griz franchise history, would be next. Since his arrival, fans have embraced Randolph despite having a bad reputation. And after the 2010-11 NBA playoffs, there was no doubts that this city wanted Randolph to retire a Griz.
Well for now, they get what they want. In a recent press conference, Pera told everyone that Randolph will not be traded this season.
“There was never a serious discussion or dialogue around trading Zach Randolph. I can say that categorically. We’re really proud of him for going back to the All-Star Game.”
Though this doesn’t speak for the summer or whenever Randolph’s age begins to heavily effect his game, this is giving fans assurance that by next week Z-Bo won’t be wearing another jersey. In fact, Randolph stated in an interview that if he got traded to a losing team, he wouldn’t report. He also pointed out how his family stays in Memphis, how he’s bought a house there, and that his daughter attends school in the city. It’s pretty clear that the big man is heavily invested into that city.
If the Grizzlies are going to win a playoff series this season, they need Randolph at 100 percent. That was quite evident in the seven-game series against the Los Angeles Clippers. He doesnt have to be at the same level he was in 2011, his play will always be crucial to Memphis’ success. You could argue that despite Randolph being the “face of the franchise”, this is now Marc Gasol‘s trade. But if the league leader in double-double’s can impose his will in the post and stay very active on the boards, this team has a chance to shock some people in the playoffs.
But with this news, fans have some breathing room. While they didn’t get a chance to see the Rudy Gay–Mike Conley-Gasol-Randolph core make a healthy run at the playoffs, I’m sure the promise of Zach Randolph not being traded at the deadline is far more important to them.