The Memphis Grizzlies are moving Zach Randolph to the bench, and the veteran big man says he’ll embrace his new sixth man role.

Randolph, 35, appreciates the way head coach David Fizdale approached him about the demotion.

Z-Bo will be replaced in the starting lineup by third-year forward JaMychal Green.

Per the Commercial Appeal:

“He’s been incredible about the whole situation. He’s embracing that role,” Fizdale said about Randolph. “Like I told him, ‘Most likely no one is going to pay you to be a starter from here on out. Let’s audition you for what you can be for the rest of your career.’ And it really clicked with him. And we’re going to go after Sixth Man of the Year. I want to highlight the hell out of him in that second unit. I want him to be a leader in that second unit.”

 

“I’m fine with it,” Randolph said. “You know how I am. Whatever is best for the team. I feel like I can be a starter, of course, and carry a team like I did last year. But I’m being positive and staying ready. If Coach (Fizdale) wants me to play 10 minutes, I’ll come in and play the hardest 10 minutes.” […] Fizdale informed Randolph of his decision near the start of training camp. The move is designed to help the starters begin games with a quicker pace and add scoring punch to the second unit.

 

“So for a guy like him to come off the bench and embrace it that shows you how much Zach cares about this and how much he’s a professional,” Griz center Marc Gasol said. “I’ve never been in that position and I hope I’ll never be. With the type of guy that I am, I don’t know how I’d take it. But Zach took it the best I’d imagine anybody taking it. He’s carried us for many years. Now, we’ve got to make his job easier.” […] Randolph was moved to the bench for 15 games last season under former Griz coach Dave Joerger. Randolph said that experience combined with how Fizdale presented his role this time made the decision easy to digest.