Zach Randolph

And-Ones: Porter, Gasol, Hall Of Fame, Carter, Cooper

Kevin Porter Jr. made his European debut on Saturday, scoring 14 points in his first game with PAOK in Greece. Porter had just one point before halftime, according to a Eurohoops report, but he began driving to the basket more frequently in the second half.

It was good, honestly,” Porter said. “I didn’t play up to my level, of course. I had a slow start, but playing with this group of guys, they made sure that I stayed positive. The chemistry on this team is beautiful. It wasn’t down. It was always joyful out there. I haven’t been on the court like that and played regulation in a long time. So it’s good to have a group of guys like that to lift me up when I started off slow. It was dope.”

The former Rockets guard is hoping to revive his career, which was derailed by an assault case involving his former girlfriend, ex-WNBA player Kysre Gondrezick. Porter said there are a lot of adjustments in Europe, such as a smaller court and a different style of play, but he already likes his new surroundings.

I’ve only been here five days and feel at home,” Porter added. “It’s how the team welcomed me and the fans who were at the airport, and I met them every day. I don’t know exactly what I will do in the future, but I will return here again.

There’s more news from around the basketball world:

  • Many of Marc Gasol‘s former teammates were on hand Saturday in Memphis for his jersey retirement ceremony, per John Hollinger of The Athletic. The event represented a throwback to the Grizzlies‘ “Grit N Grind Era” as the “Core Four” of Gasol, Zach Randolph, Mike Conley and Tony Allen were together on the court for the first time since 2017. “I had a very unique perspective because I came as 16-year-old (to watch his older brother, Pau),” Gasol said. “I had the perspective of a fan, of what is expected from the team in Memphis, and then followed the team in Spain. When I came back as a Grizzlies player, I carried that with me, and I carried that kind of pride. And I hope everyone enjoyed what they saw for so many years.”
  • In a separate story, Hollinger calls for changes to the selection process for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He argues that the voting shouldn’t be kept secret and contends the Hall contains too many “outliers” and “contributors” instead of just recognizing historically great players.
  • Vince Carter learned about his Hall of Fame selection on April Fool’s Day, so his first thought was that it might be a prank, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Once Carter realized the call was legitimate, he was overwhelmed by the honor. “You think about the people that are in there. … It’s mind blowing for me,” he said at his press conference. “And I enjoy playing the game of basketball every day, and I’m just overjoyed now that my career is over, like somebody said, the cherry on top: This is it.”
  • Magic Johnson is thrilled to see longtime teammate Michael Cooper receive Hall of Fame recognition, telling Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times, “My boy made it! My boy made it! My boy Coop made the Hall of Fame! Damn! I was hollering, man, when I heard it. I couldn’t believe it. I was so excited for him, man.”

Southwest Notes: Landale, Pelicans, Grizzlies, Bane

Big man Jock Landale, who signed with the Spurs last month after spending last season with Melbourne United, referred to Australia’s National Basketball League as “the best place to be” for players trying to make jump to the NBA. In an appearance on the NBL’s The Huddle podcast, Landale praised the league’s willingness to let players pursue NBA opportunities.

“I think the NBL does themselves such a service in having that leniency to let people go and pursue that dream, that people now look at it as a legitimate pathway,” Landale said.

Landale signed a two-year, minimum-salary contract with the Spurs as a free agent this offseason. While the second year isn’t guaranteed, the first season is, so he’s in position to make San Antonio’s 15-man squad.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Zach Harper of The Athletic was underwhelmed by the Pelicans‘ offseason, giving the team a grade of D-plus for its summer moves. While Harper liked the acquisition of Jonas Valanciunas and New Orleans’ deal with Josh Hart, he believes the club significantly downgraded its backcourt, calling the Devonte’ Graham signing a “pretty bad” deal.
  • While the city of New Orleans was hit hard by Hurricane Ida, the Pelicans‘ Smoothie King Center only sustained “minor exterior damage,” according to the team. The Pels will be able to play their home games there this fall without issue, as Christian Clark of details.
  • The Grizzlies plan to retire the jerseys for two key members of the team’s “Grit and Grind” era, announcing (via Twitter) that they’ll retire Zach Randolph‘s No. 50 on December 11 and Tony Allen‘s No. 9 on January 28.
  • Grizzlies guard Desmond Bane is changing agents, according to Liz Mullen of Sports Business Journal, who tweets that Bane has left Seth Cohen of SAC Sports Family and is in the process of hiring new representation. Bane is still two years away from being extension-eligible for the first time.

BIG3 Aims To Hold Quarantined Tournament In April

The BIG3 is working on plans to launch a “quarantined, reality show-style” three-on-three tournament in April, league sources tell Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

Ice Cube and entertainment executive Jeff Kwatinetz – the league’s founders – have had discussions with TV networks about possibility broadcasting the preseason tournament, which they hope would help fill a void in the sporting world.

As Haynes explains, the idea would be to have approximately 16 to 22 players who test negative for COVID-19 be quarantined together in a large home in Los Angeles. A basketball facility would be built on site, and any player who breaks quarantine at any time during the tournament would be disqualified and removed.

The format would involve seven rounds of games, with teams being reshuffled throughout the tournament and players being eliminated when they accumulate three losses. In addition to the games, the players’ daily lives would also be filmed and broadcast “for added drama and storylines,” per Haynes.

“As long as we can protect the players, which we will do through proper testing and quarantine, Ice Cube and I feel we can give fans some safe, entertaining brand of basketball to get everyone through this pandemic,” Kwatinetz told Haynes.

Even if the BIG3 is able to move forward with its tournament as planned, it’s not yet known which players would participate, but Haynes says that former NBA players like Joe Johnson, Zach Randolph, and Greg Oden are among the possible candidates.

Zach Randolph To Play In BIG3

Longtime NBA big man Zach Randolph has reached in an agreement to play in the BIG3, Ice Cube‘s three-on-three league, for the 2020 season, league sources tell Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).

According to Haynes (Twitter link), Randolph will be the new captain of the Trilogy, one of the league’s 12 teams. The BIG3 announced on Tuesday that former NBA swingman Stephen Jackson will serve as Trilogy’s head coach for the 2020 season.

Randolph, 38, played in more than 1,100 career regular season NBA games over the course of a 17-year career, appearing in another 70 postseason contests. A two-time All-Star, the former Michigan State standout averaged 16.6 PPG and 9.1 RPG over the course of his career for the Grizzlies, Trail Blazers, Knicks, Clippers, and Kings. He was a key member of Memphis’ “grit and grind” teams of the 2010s.

Randolph last played in an NBA game during the 2017/18 season for Sacramento. He technically spent most of the 2018/19 campaign on the Kings’ roster as well, but never appeared in a game before being traded to the Mavericks at the deadline. He was subsequently waived by Dallas last February and officially announced his retirement from the NBA in December.

Zach Randolph Confirms Retirement With Heartfelt Tweet

After announcing his retirement earlier this week, 17-year NBA veteran Zach Randolph took to Twitter early Saturday to confirm the end of his career in a heartfelt post.

“I gave this game my all, and it gave everything back and more. Basketball will always be a part of me,” he wrote. “From Marion, to East Lansing, to Portland, NY, LA, Memphis and Sacramento and everyone in between — thank you all for an incredible journey.

“Special thank you to the Memphis Grizzlies and entire city which I will forever call home, my family for always supporting me — my mom, brother and sisters for taking this journey with me, the Portland Trail Blazers for taking a chance on a young kid from Marion, Coach Moe Smedley, Coach Tom Izzo, Commissioners David Stern and Adam Silver for the opportunity, all the NBA organizations, front offices, staff, and every single teammate. To my agent Raymond Brothers — you’ve not only been my agent my whole career, you’ve been my big brother as well.

One love. Z-Bo”

Randolph, 38, seemed intent on getting one more shot in the NBA just a few months ago, stating he “ain’t retired yet.” However, after not finding another opportunity, he decided to call it quits.

It was a stellar career for the two-time All-Star as he suited up for five teams (Blazers, Knicks, Clippers, Grizzlies, Kings), played in several NBA postseasons and netted north of $200MM for his career.

Zach Randolph Confirms His Retirement

A few months after suggesting that he wanted to continue his NBA career, Zach Randolph tells TMZ his retirement is official. Randolph confirmed the news during a quick interview while he was at the ClippersLakers game on Christmas Day.

Randolph earned more than $200MM during his 17 years in the NBA. His time in the league ended unceremoniously last season as he spent time with the Kings and Mavericks, but never got into a game.

Randolph, who plans to devote more time to his music label, also spoke briefly about Ja Morant, saying he’s got a “good chance” to be Rookie of the Year.

In an interview shortly before training camps opened in September, Randolph declared, “I ain’t retired yet,” and seemed to be holding out hope that someone would give him a chance to earn a roster spot. But when that opportunity didn’t come, Randolph accepted that his career is over.

Zach Randolph: “I Ain’t Retired Yet”

Zach Randolph was technically under contract for most of the 2018/19 campaign, spending much of the season with the Kings before he was traded to Dallas at the deadline and was subsequently waived by the Mavericks. However, he didn’t appear in a single game all year.

Now more than a year removed from playing in a regular season contest, Randolph acknowledged to David Cobb of The Memphis Commercial Appeal that he has “a lot of stuff going on outside of basketball” and has considered transitioning to the next phase of his career.

“I’ve been working on some things, just really trying to see what I want to do with the next part of my life,” Randolph said. “I’ve been thinking about hanging it up and seeing what’s going on and what I want to do in the next phase of my life.”

However, the 38-year-old isn’t ready to officially call it a career at this time, telling Cobb, “I ain’t retired yet.”

While Randolph may not be ready to announce his retirement, it would be a little surprising if he returns to the NBA. The longtime power forward added a decent three-point shot to his arsenal in 2017/18, when he made 34.7% of 147 attempts for Sacramento, but his skill set otherwise isn’t an ideal fit for the modern NBA and there are only a small handful of players still in the league who are older than him.

If Randolph does decide to formally retire, he’d be a candidate to sign a one-day contract with Memphis to go out as a member of the Grizzlies. He spent eight of his 17 years in the NBA with the franchise, earning a pair of All-Star nods and an All-NBA spot during that stretch.

Mavericks Waive Zach Randolph

FEBRUARY 8: The Mavericks have officially waived Randolph, the team announced today in a press release.

FEBRUARY 7: Veteran big man Zach Randolph, acquired by the Mavericks in a deadline deal with the Kings, will be waived by Dallas, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Given his sizable cap hit ($11,692,308), Randolph will almost certainly go unclaimed, so he’ll become an unrestricted free agent once he clears waivers. He’ll be free to sign with any team besides Sacramento at that point.

There’s no indication based on Charania’s report that Randolph has agreed to reduce his salary as part of the transactions. Veterans on oversized contracts generally only agree to buyouts if they have a new destination lined up, and it’s not clear if that’s the case for Randolph.

The 37-year-old had yet to appear in a game for the Kings this season after playing 59 games (57 starts) in 2017/18. Randolph was still productive last season, averaging 14.5 PPG and 6.7 RPG on .473/.347/.785. While his limited ability to protect the rim or switch on defense will reduce his appeal to some extent it’s possible he’ll still draw interest from contending teams.

Trade Rumors: Davis, Randolph, Wolves, Morris

The Knicks and Lakers are equal on Anthony Davis‘ list of preferred destinations, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times. The Clippers and Bucks also remain in the top four, Stein adds. New York may make a bid for Davis before the deadline, but it should be in a stronger position after the draft lottery when everyone knows where its first-rounder will fall (Twitter link).

League sources tell Stein that Davis doesn’t expect to sign his next contract before he reaches free agency in 2020, no matter where he is by then (Twitter link). That means anyone who trades for Davis won’t be assured of a long-term extension.

He has been sidelined with a fractured left index finger, but Davis intends to resume playing regardless of what happens at the trade deadline (Twitter link). He has received medical clearance to return to action, but the Pelicans haven’t divulged their plans for Davis if there’s no trade on Thursday. He was held out of two games this week to avoid further injury.

Here’s a roundup of rumors heading into the trade deadline:

  • The Lakers are running out of hope that a Davis trade will be completed before the deadline, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Pelicans GM Dell Demps hasn’t responded to Magic Johnson’s latest offer, and it appears New Orleans is content to run out the clock. The Pelicans may never have been serious about dealing with L.A. and might have been trying to sabotage the Lakers as revenge for what they consider to be tampering, tweets Rachel Nichols, host of ESPN’s “The Jump.” “It’s not just possible, it’s what happened,” colleague Brian Windhorst said today in an appearance on the show.
  • The Mavericks will have buyout talks with newly acquired Zach Randolph, Wojnarowski tweets. The 37-year-old hasn’t played yet this season, but he may be able to help a contender.
  • The Timberwolves continue to look for someone to take Jeff Teague and Gorgui Dieng, sources tell Chris Hine of The Star-Tribune. Teague has a $19MM player option for next season, while Dieng still has two seasons left on his four-year, $63MM deal. Minnesota hasn’t found much interest, but it may be willing to attach Derrick Rose, Taj Gibson, Anthony Tolliver or Luol Deng as incentives.
  • New Pelican Markieff Morris could become a buyout candidate once he’s fully recovered from a neck injury, tweets Tim Bontemps of ESPN.
  • The Thunder plan to watch what the Suns do with Wayne Ellington and may be interested if he hits the buyout market, according to Sean Deveney of The Sporting News (Twitter link).

Kings Acquire Harrison Barnes From Mavericks

FEBRUARY 7, 12:43am: The trade is now official, according to a press release from the Mavericks. The club confirmed it has released Mejri, who will become a free agent if he clears waivers.

As Bobby Marks of ESPN notes (via Twitter), assuming Dallas uses its recently-created Wesley Matthews traded player exception to absorb Randolph’s salary, the team should generate a new TPE worth $21,299,378. It would be the largest trade exception in NBA history.

FEBRUARY 7, 12:13am: Because they’re acquiring two players in exchange for one, the Mavericks will need to waive a player to finalize the trade. That player will be Salah Mejri, according to Mike Fisher of (Twitter link). Mejri was informed of the decision during Wednesday’s game vs. Charlotte, per JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors (Twitter link).

FEBRUARY 6, 9:18pm: The Mavericks are finalizing a trade that will send Harrison Barnes to Sacramento, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. Justin Jackson and Zach Randolph will be heading to Dallas, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). There are no picks involved in the deal, confirms Sam Amick of USA Today (Twitter link).

The Kings are hoping for a long-term arrangement with Barnes, who has a $25.1MM player option for next season, Woj adds (Twitter link). He has been a consistent scorer during his two and a half years in Dallas, peaking at 19.2 PPG in 2016/17. He is averaging 17.8 points and 4.3 rebounds in 48 games this season.

Sacramento, which is the only team with remaining cap space, will use $10.5MM to complete the trade, posts Bobby Marks on ESPN Now. Barnes has an 8% trade bonus that comes to $686,443 if the deal is finalized tomorrow. The Kings will have $21MM in cap room this summer if Barnes opts in or $45.2MM if he doesn’t. Today’s trades will leave Sacramento with an open roster spot.

The Kings appear serious about making a run at a playoff spot, which seems more available after the Clippers traded Tobias Harris early this morning. Sacramento started the day in ninth place at 28-25, just one game behind L.A.

The trade leaves Dallas close to being able to offer a maximum contract in free agency this summer, tweets ESPN’s Zach Lowe. Jackson will make $3.28MM next season and Randolph has an $11.7MM expiring contract. Lowe states that the position of the Mavericks’ 2019 first-round pick could determine whether they can reach a full max deal. Dallas won’t have that pick – or the associated cap hold – unless it lands in the top five.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.