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Grizzlies and Zach Randolph agree to contract extension

As reported by Yahoo Sports and other media outlets, Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph has picked up his $16.5 million option for next season and agreed to a two-year $20 contract extension beyond that.

Randolph, who will turn 33 in July, averaged 17.4 points and 10.1 rebounds for a 50-win Grizzlies team that made the playoffs for the fourth straight season.

When controlling owner Robert Pera surprised everyone by firing team CEO Jason Levien and coach Dave Joerger interviewed in Minnesota, concerns arose about Randolph’s future. But he said he wanted to finish his career here, Grizzlies executive Chris Wallace said the team wanted him here, and teammates believed Randolph meant what he said.

“Yeah, I’m still confident,” point guard Mike Conley said before the Danny Thomas Pro-Am earlier this month at TPC Southwind. “As long as Zach wants to be here – and I think he does – we’ll make something work.”

So rest easy, Memphis, your Z-Bo isn’t going anywhere.

 

In stunning move, Grizzlies part ways with executives Jason Levien and Stu Lash

The news coming from the Memphis Grizzlies Monday afternoon that front office executives Jason Levien and Stu Lash are out appears to have surprised just about everyone not named Robert Pera, who is the Grizzlies controlling owner and whose boot prints are on Levien’s and Lash’s backsides.

That laughter you hear is Lionel Hollins, who has to be thinking, “See, it wasn’t just me.”

And maybe it wasn’t. We’re not going to know about that or the juicy details of these sudden exits for a while and even then we are likely to get less than the full story.

But what you think and what I think about this isn’t what matters.

Zach Randolph can opt out this summer and go elsewhere. Marc Gasol becomes a free agent after next season.

When the team met with media at the end of the this 50-win season under first-year coach Dave Joerger and after a seven-game, first-round playoff loss to OKC, Gasol and Mike Conley both said they had complete trust in the people running the Grizzlies.

The key question is who was first in their minds — Robert Pera or Jason Levien?

For now, general manager Chris Wallace takes over “interim” responsibility for the running of basketball operations. Presumably, he had to be summoned from his office in suburban Siberia.

What happens next? Well, there’s a John Calipari rumor out there and about three million others.

So craft your own conspiracy theory and run with it. We’ve still got two months until SEC football media days. Maybe Robert Pera just understands how slow our summers can be.

 

 

 

 

The Grizz are in the NBA Playoffs … well, probably

First, the easy part. If the Memphis Grizzlies defeat the Suns in Phoenix tonight the Grizzlies clinch a playoff berth and the Suns are, well, officially set.

Memphis is currently 48-32; the Suns are 47-33. The Grizzlies hold the tiebreaker over the Suns, which would come into play (in the Grizzlies’ favor) in the event they lost at Phoenix and then both teams lost their final game of the season (the Grizzlies to Dallas and the Suns to Sacramento). If they both finish 48-34, the Grizzlies are in.

Got all that?

A win tonight over the Suns takes away pressure and just leaves possibility. The Dallas Mavericks-Grizzlies showdown is on Wednesday at FedExForum. If the Grizzlies beat the Suns, then the winner of the Memphis-Dallas game gets the 7 seed and the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round. The loser would get the 8 seed and the San Antonio Spurs in the first round.

But the Grizzlies are not home-free yet, either.

Dallas has clinched a spot and has just the game in Memphis remaining. Should the Suns beat the Grizzlies and then the Kings with the Grizzlies then losing to the Mavs, the Suns would leap over Memphis with a 49-33 record. The Grizzlies and their 48-34 record then would be off to beaches and golf courses.

There is also an outside shot at moving up to 6 — the Grizzlies win both games and the Golden State Warriors lose to Minnesota and at Denver. Unlikely, but not impossible.

This season, seemingly nothing is impossible.

 

 

 

 

It’s been 5 years, but Pastner still following Cal — just ask him

RALEIGH, N.C. — So, at the Saturday press conference at PNC Arena, a Washington Post reporter asked Tigers coach Josh Pastner what would it mean for the team to advance to the Sweet 16. Here is Pastner’s reply, which you may notice did just about everything but answer the actual question:

“If we don’t get out of this first weekend, I might be working with you at the “Washington Post” next week with the fan base

in Memphis. So no, I mean, look. Last year, they’re always going to find something in the sense

of — and I said this last night and I really believe it. I’m just not a negative guy. I don’t like negative

energy. I believe positive energy. I believe in it. I believe in positive creates positive. I think when

you have a positive energy … it’s contagious. Negativity just — so I’m not into

negativity. People are going to find stuff, not only locally, but nationally. Going into this season, we

beat St. Mary’s, top 25 in the coach as poll. This season, we haven’t beat anybody in the top 25 in

the AP poll. We won that. One time, we’ve never won a game with Jay Bilas doing the game. There

will be about seven other eight other things. So I recognize that — let me tell you this.

We’ve won a lot of games. We’ve won 75, 76 percent of our games in the five years there. And

guys are graduating at record pace. We’re back-to-back Final Fours in the academic, in the

Journal of Higher Education if it was just based on academics.

So, you know, usually when you win that type, 75, 76 percent, people, you get a statue built

of you. I was following John Calipari, who had won in his last four years over 90 percent of his games.

And I understand it. That’s what I was going to be compared to. Every day, that’s what I’m compared

to is those Final Four years. In those Final Four years, Coach Calipari went Elite 8, Elite 8, National

Championship, Sweet 16. In Memphis that’s what I’m compared to is those four years because that’s

who I’m following. That’s why I got the job, because nobody wanted to follow him. They all want to follow me

now. So I recognize that. I accept it, and I just, we got to try to win and try to win as many as we can.

We’ve won a lot of games in our time too.”

Tigers bust brackets

Apparently, the Warren Buffett $1 billion bracket challenge is done.

Thanks to the Memphis Tigers. Only three brackets remained in play when the Tigers played George Washington Friday in the round of 64. The Tigers’ 71-66 victory finished those would-be-billionaires off because they all picked GW to win the game.

Memphis coach Josh Pastner intercepted a question to the players about what they thought about busting the brackets.

“If Warren wants to donate the billion to our university, we’ll take it and use it in good company,” Pastner said with a grin.

Dansette

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