I'm one who was on the side of the Grizzlies making sure that they lock up Zach Randolph in the offseason. Though, I'll admit it's a bit curious that the deal would get done not only while the playoffs were just starting to bloom, but also while there is a pending CBA fight brewing and a possible lockout on the horizon. Memphis did not wait, however, locking up Randolph on Sunday to a 4-year, $66 million contract with the possibility of the cash reaching as much as $71 million. Curious timing, no?
At any rate, I do believe that Randolph has earned his keep in Memphis. Not to dismiss the impact Mike Conley and Rudy Gay have had on the team, but with both of those guys having already picked up long-term extensions, it seemed as if it was only a matter of time for the Grizzlies best player, the player who led them to their first playoff win in franchise history, to be handsomely rewarded for what he's done for the team. You're kidding yourself if you're not convinced that Sunday's win over the Spurs was the best win in franchise history. A victory which would not have been made possible if it weren't for the play of a one Mr. Zach Randolph.
Randolph is still only 29 years old, which means we'll be talking about the back-end of his contract when he's just 33 years of age.
Memphis has a foundation in place, one which with the right complmentary pieces can be a part of the discussion as the top teams in the Western Conference for some years to come. Of course that would mean resigning Gasol is the next piece in this puzzle, but if and when the ink has dried on that contract extension, the Grizzlies will continue to climb the Western Conference ladder. With teams like Dallas, San Antonio and the Lakers looking a bit suspect in the coming years, the Grizzlies can make their case as a future contender.
But we need not get ahead of ourselves. I like this signing, though I do see some of the skepticism in the timing. Z-Bo is inked, however, which means we now turn our attention to knocking off the Spurs. Game Two is Wednesday night, in San Antonio, and we have to start thinking about how we'll respond after our Game One victory and not yet worry ourselves about the years to come.