The NBA off season hasn’t lasted long and already the Memphis Grizzlies have made several key moves. Zach Randolph has been retained for an additional three years and Memphis has added two rookies to its roster and just today they have declined to extend a qualifying offer to big man Ed Davis making him unrestricted in free agency. All three of these moves are vital to their ongoing success.
Zach Randolph has been a key to the success of the Memphis Grizzlies. His current monster contract is about to expire but Memphis has worked out a deal that will keep him here at least another three years. The deal involves Randolph opting into his 16.5 million dollar player option next year and an additional two years beyond that for 10 million each. The deal is very fair for both sides. Randolph will not make a total of 36.5 million over the next three years. Perhaps he could’ve garnered another 2-3 million or another year to the contract for less annually but this is the team that turned Randolph’s career around. Randolph also loves Memphis. It was a great move to keep the core together for another few years and set up more cap space to re-sign Marc Gasol after next season.
Memphis also drafted two rookies. Jordan Adams and Jarnell Stokes. You may remember Stokes being someone I singled out in my last column and he is an ideal fit here. His contract will be very affordable and Randolph will be the ideal mentor for him. While his style is very similar to Randolph’s there’s two key differences. Stokes is more athletic than Randolph. Stokes can throw down dunks and move quicker. He doesn’t quite have the crafty feet Randolph possesses but he makes up for it with athleticism. The second difference is that Stokes doesn’t have the mid-range game Z-Bo has mastered. Stokes can’t shoot quite yet but this is something he can work on. It seemed everyone was disappointed when Memphis used their first round pick on Jordan Adams but they made a trade to bring in Stokes and keep him at home. Jordan Adams while having the potential to be a great scorer for Memphis but he has work to do. The pick was a bit of a reach and Adams needs to work on his defense. Memphis claimed Adams was only the guy despite better skilled players like Shabazz Napier and Rodney Hood still being on the board. The move has a few fans puzzled as shooting guard wasn’t exactly their most needed position and they could’ve drafted a back up point guard or small forward, both positions in need.
And finally news is just coming in that Ed Davis will not get a qualifying offer from Memphis making him an unrestricted free agent. Davis came in the Rudy Gay trade and has never been fully utilized despite being hailed as a eventual Zach Randolph replacement. Even though they will most likely lose the young big man it’s the right move. Memphis doesn’t have the cap space to sign Davis to a more expensive long term deal. Stokes will fit in as a better back up at power forward for a lot less money. It’s a blow to the Grizzlies roster but other players can make up for his production for less money.
Free agency officially starts on July 1, 2014. Memphis is sure to make a couple moves so keep your eyes open.