Zach Randolph is Now Memphis’ Problem

by July 02, 2009

by Marcel Mutoni

Breathe easy, Clippers fans. Zach Randolph will not be around to potentially ruin the Blake Griffin Experience. Instead, he’s off to Memphis, and coming back to Clipper-ville is the artist formerly known as Quentin Richardson.

The Grizzlies will happily take Z-Bo (and the $33 million guaranteed to him over the next two seasons) off the Clippers’ hands. Their fans, I can only imagine, must be filled with joy. The only people happier are those who cheer for the Clippers.

From the LA Times:

Zach, we hardly knew ye. Having become the all-time leading Los Angeles Clippers scorer in his 39 games with the team, Zach Randolph was packaged for delivery to Memphis on Wednesday when the teams agreed to a deal that will bring back former Clipper Quentin Richardson, and open a starting spot for rookie Blake Griffin…Randolph, a low-post scoring machine, averaged 20.9 points a game in his short stint here, eclipsing Elton Brand’s Los Angeles Clippers career mark of 20.3.

In a surprise, the Clippers didn’t do it to dump salary. Owner Donald T. Sterling actually resisted the move when a similar deal with Memphis came up on draft day, saying he wanted to do it only if it was a “basketball decision.” When his people said it was a basketball decision, the deal was resurrected. Nevertheless, with Randolph under contract for two more seasons at $33 million, and Richardson on the last year of his deal at $8.7 million, it will impact their bottom line, and, with their payroll now far below the salary cap after this season, can make them a major player in the big 2010 free-agent class.

Welcome to the starting lineup (and the expectations that come with it), Blake Griffin. We hope you enjoy your stay here.