Talks Stall Between Grizzlies, Zach Randolph

June 25 at 11:08am CDT By Chuck Myron

11:08am: The impasse came about when negotiations “went beyond” Wallace from the Grizzlies side, Tillery writes in a subscription-only piece. That indicates that owner Robert Pera is hesitant to spend too freely on Randolph, but that’s just my speculation. In any case, Randolph is leaning toward opting out, according to Tillery.

10:38am: Two others Western Conference teams are paying close attention to the talks and preparing strong pursuits of Randolph should he hit free agency, according to Tillery (on Twitter).

9:58am: The number of years involved in the deal aren’t the stumbling block, but the two sides are split over money, TNT’s David Aldridge tweets.

JUNE 25TH, 9:35am: Randolph and the team have hit a snag over money and the length of a new deal, and he’s giving serious thought to turning down his player option and hitting free agency next month, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Memphis wants a three-year deal while Randolph is pushing for a four-year arrangement. Since extensions can only add three years onto an existing deal, that presumably means Randolph prefers to opt out and ink a new deal with the team in free agency.

JUNE 20TH: The Grizzlies and Zach Randolph seem close to a deal that would keep the power forward in Memphis for the next several seasons, as Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal writes in a subscription-only piece. A report last month indicated that the Grizzlies and the Raymond Brothers client were in talks on an extension, but it’s not clear whether the deal would involve an extension or a scenario in which Randolph opts out and signs a new long-term contract. The 32-year-old has a player option worth more than $16.9MM for next season.

Tillery also casts a degree of doubt on this week’s report that indicated that GM Chris Wallace would remain in charge of the team, though he describes him as the front-runner for that role. Wallace is “ardent” about coming to terms with Randolph, and he’s had frequent discussions with Brothers, according to Tillery.

“It’s going forward,” Wallace said of the talks. “We’re very excited about what Zach’s done in the past and hope to have him here in the future. This has really been a terrific boon for both sides. He’s obviously meant a great deal to us on and off the court. And Memphis has worked for him. This has been, by far, the best stop for him since he’s been in the NBA. So we’re working towards that goal.”

Brothers also sounds optimistic about reaching a deal, Tillery notes. It’s a change of pace from the Grizzlies’ stance under ousted CEO Jason Levien, who, as Tillery reveals, attempted to trade Randolph for Eric Gordon before the start of the season until the Pelicans rebuffed his efforts. It was one of at least two attempts Levien made at trading Randolph, as the then-CEO was high on Ed Davis, believing in him as a replacement for Randolph at power forward, Tillery says.

It appears that market value for Randolph is akin to a deal worth $30-35MM over three years, which would represent a significant dip in annual salaries over what he would earn on his option next season. Still, both sides are liable to make concessions given their mutual admiration, as Randolph has spoken on multiple occasions of his affection for Memphis. There’s chatter regarding a role within the Grizzlies organization for Randolph after he retires as a player, Tillery adds.

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