Zach Randolph said in November that he’d like to retire with the Grizzlies, though he’s undecided on his nearly $17MM player option for next season. Whatever he chooses to do, it appears the Grizzlies would like to keep him around for 2014/15 and beyond, given the comments of Grizzlies CEO Jason Levien on Sports 56 WHBQ radio in Memphis (transcription via Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal, on Twitter).
“We’re hopeful we’ll have Zach for a very long time to come,” Levien said. “We have to figure out what’s the right way to do that for the organization.”
Randolph has notched 17.3 points per game this year, his highest scoring average since pouring in 20.1 PPG in 2010/11. The Grizzlies rewarded the power forward with a four-year, $66MM extension near the end of that season, and while Randolph, who turns 33 in July, probably won’t merit a package quite that lucrative again, he’d still be a sought-after free agent if he hits the market this summer.
The team adamantly denied trade rumors surrounding Randolph in December, but the Raymond Brothers client nonetheless expressed annoyance over a perceived lack of loyalty from the club, pointing to the success the Spurs, Lakers and Heat have had standing by their players. Trade rumors continued to persist until last week’s deadline, but Randolph said last month that he wants to continue playing alongside Marc Gasol, who’s under contract through next season. In the same interview, Randolph reiterated that he’s undecided about his player option for next year, in spite of sources who told Ken Berger of CBSSports.com in December that they expect Randolph to opt out.