Rumor Mill: Does Zach Randolph fit with the Lakers?

Is it possible these two could be switching uniforms mid-season? - USA TODAY Sports

ESPN is always good for some conversation starters. This time, they focus on a possible Zach Randolph trade involving arguably the greatest Grizzly of all-time returning to Memphis.

ESPN's Nick Borges put out a story Tuesday for the ESPN INsider about a rumor started by Bulls.com's Sam Smith regarding possible landing spots for Pau Gasol. Surprise, surprise, Memphis was mentioned, and a certain new father was the center of the trade discussions. Here are some highlights from the ESPN and the full Bulls.com article, which you can find here.

"...I’ve got a spot: Memphis. Back home and with brother, Marc, and a return like with Mike Miller this season. The Grizzlies are off to an uneven start with some apparent issues as rumors have percolated for months of interest in trading Zach Randolph. The latest a few weeks back had them offering Randolph for Eric Gordon. Everyone denied it..."

"Trading for Pau actually saves them money in the long run. And as Memphis has made no secret their future core is to build around Marc Gasol and Mike Conley, a return could invigorate Pau and put him as a second or third option where he is more comfortable. And out of the pressure of L.A. Randolph, meanwhile, would be a strong piece for Kobe Bryant as he’s younger and more productive than Pau. And better for the Lakers to save the money for future free agent classes, which will be better than this summer’s."

Borges- The Grizzlies would do a Randolph-for-Pau Gasol deal in a heartbeat, however the Lakers are likely to turn it down since Randolph owns a $16.93 million player option for 2014-15, while Gasol is set to become a free free agent in July. Lakers management doesn't want to decrease their massive cap room in 2014, which is why the team won't do any trade that puts more money on their 2014-15 salary cap.

This is purely speculation on Smith's part, and it is important to point out that Smith says this idea is just that, his idea. The idea that Z-Bo was offered as recently as 3 weeks ago for Eric Gordon is surprising, considering the Grizzlies and Pelicans are in the same division. It reminds me of the Philadelphia Eagles trading Donovan McNabb within their division to my beloved Washington Redskins; they knew McNabb was finished. Basketball is a bit different, and inter-divisional trades happen a good deal, but still, it gives reason to pause. Eric Gordon, when healthy, is exactly the scoring guard that the Grizzlies could use, however.

Trade rumors will continue to hound the Grizzlies as the season goes on, especially if things do not improve.

As far as Pau goes, there have been rumbles that he would possibly be a better fit for the new-look offense than Zach is. His contract is an expiring one, and I tend to agree with Borges here; the Grizzlies do that deal yesterday, if it were ever truly offered. It is unlikely, however, that the Lakers would value Zach over, say, Carmelo Anthony, therefore making the deal farfetched. Zach at this point does offer a bit more than Pau, however, and if the Lakers were interested in getting an upgraded post scorer to pair with Kobe, Z-Bo would fit the bill.

Once again, this is all speculation. Just something interesting to ponder. If the Grizzlies continue to struggle into January (which I do not anticipate), roster moves will be made, with Zach possibly being the first one on his way off of Beale Street.

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