As the Pistons roll into Memphis tonight to play the Grizzlies, there will be some buzz about Grizzlies PF Zach Randolph possibly being traded to the Pistons. Earlier this month, it was reported by SI.com that Randolph wants to leave Memphis since they refused to discuss extending his contract. It was stated that his preferred destination would be Detroit - Randolph played at Michigan State for one season before turning pro. Randolph’s agent later refuted the report. Randolph is on his last year of his contract paying him $17.6 million this season.
So what would the Pistons have to give up to get Randolph? The Grizzlies would want an expiring contract to offset Randolph’s expiring contract. Pistons F Tayshaun Prince matches that criteria, but his contract numbers do not match Randolph’s. Also, the Grizzlies most likely would want a big man to replace Randolph. The Pistons would gladly offer up PF Chris Wilcox along with Prince to match swapping expiring contracts, but the Grizzlies probably would not be interested as Wilcox has played only 3 minutes this year in a mop up role against the Lakers.
Probably the only thing that would entice the Grizzlies if the Pistons offer their 2010 first round draft pick PF Greg Monroe along with Prince. Monroe has struggled in his rookie season and does not have an expiring contract, but does have potential. He did grab 8 rebounds in last night’s loss to Dallas. So would the Pistons do it? Only if they can get Randolph to sign a favorable contract extension. And that won’t happen because of two reasons. The first is the Pistons are still up for sale and no seller wants to add on more payroll before the sale is complete. The second is the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement expires next summer and no one knows what the new variables will be for the salary cap. So when the Pistons leave Memphis tonight, Randolph will still be a Grizzlie.
As for the game tonight, the Pistons are looking for their 3rd road win of the season. They came close last night in a 88-84 loss to Dallas, but could not contain Dirk Nitkowski who had 42 points. The Pistons did have a 12 point lead in the 3rd quarter against the Mavs, but are having a difficult time closing out games this season. The Grizzlies are led by Rudy Gay and are 3-4 at home after beating Miami on Saturday.
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Written by Bob Ballard