Zach Randolph has the option to decline an extra year and enter free-agency this offseason. If he does, there will be plenty of teams lining up to sign the bruising power forward. Even though he will be turning 33 this summer, his style of plays means he still has some good years left. Unfortunately, the Los Angeles Lakers should not try and sign him as he isn’t the type of player they need going forward.
Randolph has always been an excellent rebounder and low-post scorer. What he lacks in athleticism, he more than makes up for with power and crafty moves. He has a great back-to-the-basket game and a decent mid-range shot to keep defenders honest. He is very good from the free-throw line and isn’t afraid to get physical down low.
Defensively, he has fit in very well with the team’s philosophy, but benefits from having several top-notch defenders around him. He doesn’t create many turnovers, and certainly won’t be getting better on this side of the court as he ages. One positive is that he is not afraid to mix it up with top scorers to try and get in their head, but he may find it more difficult on a team like the Lakers where he can’t afford to pick up silly fouls.
Randolph has done well to become a more mature player and an important piece to a contending team. However, this will likely be his last big contract, and he will want to make it count. He would have a hard time adjusting on the defensive side with slower perimeter players and a looser defensive system in Los Angeles. His lack of quickness and athleticism means that the team will be just as slow as in past seasons, and that they will struggle to keep up with the younger teams in the league. Randolph has a lot to offer most teams, but just wouldn’t fit in with what the Lakers want to do going forward.