NBA / May 21, 2009 / 1:00 pm

What to do with Zach Randolph

Zach Randolph, Dime #19

Zach Randolph, Dime #19

Since it seems the popular thing for national basketball writers to do these days is openly lobby for NBA jobs they’ll never ever-ever-ever-ever-ever get, allow me to put in my bid:

I want to be Zach Randolph‘s agent.

Of course I don’t have any experience or a law degree. But if the most important function of an agent is to always work in his client’s best interest, I’ve at least been thinking like Zach’s agent for the last four years; ever since I adopted him as my favorite player in the League.

And for my first act as Z-Bo’s new agent, I’m going to make sure that when the Clippers inevitably try to trade him this summer — seeing as they’re locked in on Blake Griffin with their newfound No. 1 pick and will hand him the starting four spot — Zach lands in the right situation for him.

Production isn’t the issue. Everywhere Z-Bo goes, he’s gotten his numbers; he put up his standard 20.8 points and 10.1 boards this season. And while his teams generally haven’t been good (he’s a little Ricky Davis-ish in that way), it hasn’t necessarily been his fault: The Clippers were a sinking ship before Zach ever showed up. Same for the Knicks. And in Portland, Zach had to bridge the gap between the “Jail Blazers” and the rebuilding effort that yielded the current playoff team. And while he definitely hasn’t helped himself thanks to some dumb decisions here and there, Randolph’s reputation is actually worse than his track record.

Bottom line, somebody will be in the market for a 27-year-old who’s pretty much a lock for 20 and 10 a night, even with his $16 million salary-cap number next season. So which team suits Zach best? The candidates:

HAWKS — For Josh Smith ($10.8M) and Speedy Claxton ($5.2M). This is only if the Hawks take Charles Barkley‘s advice to unload Smith and fully hand the team over to Joe Johnson. Zach slides right in at the four next to Al Horford, and Atlanta gets the dependable post scorer they realized they needed in the playoffs. Ultimately, though, I don’t think the Hawks are ready to give up on Smith yet. And since he still doesn’t have a good enough jumper to play SF, the Clips would still have a PF glut with Smith and Griffin.

BULLS — For Brad Miller ($12.2M) and Jerome James ($6M). Chicago also gets Ricky Davis ($2.4M). ‘Rome and Ricky both have player-options; any doubt they’re gonna choose to cash in? It seems we’ve been saying “The Bulls need a low-post scorer” ever since Elton Brand left, and after letting LaMarcus, KG and Pau Gasol slip through their fingers when they were available, Z-Bo would finally fill that void. (Davis could be waived/bought out.) Joakim Noah and Tyrus Thomas will mask Zach’s defensive deficiencies, Z-Bo will own the offensive glass on a team that isn’t a great jump-shooting team (especially if they lose Ben Gordon), and he’ll immediately tack 2-3 assists onto Derrick Rose‘s average.

PACERS — For Mike Dunleavy Jr. ($9.7M) and Jamaal Tinsley ($7.2M). Indiana also gets Mike Taylor ($736,000). Seven months ago I proposed a deal to send Z-Bo back home to his native Indiana, but that was before Troy Murphy was reborn as “Commander Bong.” This one works better anyway. The Clips get a playmaking PG to put behind Baron, the Pacers finally rid themselves of the Tinsley situation, the Dunleavys are reunited, and Indiana gets an athletic PG in Taylor who’s a cheap upgrade over Travis Diener and could even make one of the Ford/Jack combo expendable if necessary. At the moment, Indiana’s best low-post scorer is Roy Hibbert. They need somebody with Zach’s skill set. Put him at PF and Murphy can play center, where he’d be a left-handed Mehmet Okur.

No, really, she's relevant to this article

No, really, she's relevant to this article

GRIZZLIES — For Darko Milicic ($7.5M), Marko Jaric ($7.1M) and Greg Buckner ($4M). Memphis also gets Ricky Davis. If L.A. isn’t worried about getting actual talent back for Z-Bo, this works. Marko likes the move because I’d imagine his supermodel wife spends more time in L.A. than Memphis, but that’s a lot of money for the Clips to commit to three centers (Camby, Kaman, Darko) when odds are maybe one of them makes it through the whole season. For Zach, he goes to another team that needs a scoring power forward, takes the pressure off Marc Gasol offensively, and helps Ricky Rubio get easy dimes.

NETS — For Bobby Simmons ($10.6M), Trenton Hassell ($4.3M) and Sean Williams ($1.6M). The Nets wouldn’t mind unloading any of these guys, especially Williams. The Clippers automatically improve defensively, and Zach goes somewhere he’s needed. He never got in trouble while he was in New York the first time, so the environment in Jersey doesn’t bother me.

KINGS — For Andres Nocioni ($7.5M) and Kenny Thomas ($8.5M). Everybody loved Noce at ARCO due to, you know, him actually playing hard, but Noce didn’t love it at ARCO so much. The Kings were banking on Blake Griffin, but getting a proven 20-10 PF wouldn’t be a bad consolation prize. Kevin Martin would certainly appreciate the help.

BUCKS — For Richard Jefferson ($14.2M) and Francisco Elson ($1.7M). This one makes the most sense for both teams. Jefferson is a vet who still has his athleticism, and the joy of being back in a real city will show in his play; RJ can start at the three while Al Thornton becomes an explosive sixth man in the J.R. Smith mold. It works for the Bucks, who roll out a front line of Andrew Bogut, Randolph and Charlie Villanueva, and it makes sense on the court and in the locker room for Zach, who becomes Milwaukee’s go-to interior scorer and hopefully benefits from the positive influence of a good guy like Michael Redd. Personally, though? Living in Milwaukee with all that free time? I’ll have to consult with my client.

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  • tahir

    how about if the clips trade chris caman and a shooting guard for tracy mcgrady to houston?

  • http://dime sure

    Damn you’re hired. This is almost a win win for all teams. Atlanta though just needs a real young pg. And there fine. The Bulls/Nets/Pacers in that order. If he goes to the Bulls. The Bulls are a top4 seed.

  • Spliff 2 My Lou

    As a Bulls fan I would only take on Zach and his contract if DeAndre Jordan or Eric Gordon (not likely) were included.

  • Spliff 2 My Lou

    For the Grizzlies trade scenario you say that paying Camby, Kaman, and Darko is too much money to commit to three centers but you also propose Brad Miller and Jerome James to the Clips. I believe paying Camby, Kaman, Deandre Jordan, Brad Miller ($12.2 mil) and Jerome James ($6 mil) would be a lot worse.

  • Gerard

    The Rockets don’t need another injury-prone big man. I don’t like Kaman on our squad.

  • Spliff 2 My Lou

    BY the way Adriana Lima is fine but overrated when it comes to victoria secret models. I’d take Marisa Miller, Alessandra Ambrosio, and Miranda Kerr before I’d take her.

  • Joshua

    rockets should trade tracy mc grady to clippers for camby and randolph i tried the trade and it works

    it will make space for griffin in the frontcourt and mcgrady like he is now can still be a nice 6 th man and if he comes back to old health he will be a very good player either at the sg or sf spot

    and the rockets get size in the frontcourt and a nice backup for yao in camby

  • A$$Cube aka Told ya!!

    I thought about this Randolph-for-Jefferson swap since the lottery. This would mean the end of Chuck V in Milwaukee though. So they might wait he signs an offer sheet with some other team before actually pulling the trigger on a Z-Bo/RJ trade.

    I do like your trade proposal with your Pacers, Austin. Z-Bo is exactly what they need down low. Well, maybe not but they’re stuck with big contracts for a few more years no matter what. So they would be smart to get rid of Mike D (who’s injured till the All-Star Break) and Tin-Man. Thing is… Larry Legend battled hard to get rid of Captain Jack, Ron-Ron, JO and Tinsley so I’m not really sure he’d like to trade for a guy like Z-Bo.

    Anyway, good read Austin.

  • Notorious

    @Spliff2 My Lou… Sounds like one draft where I wouldn’t mind having pick #4.

    I am with you on the first two, but I got Kerr dropping a few spots, bumping Adriana up into the top 3.

  • Rizwan

    I think the best trade would be to Sac town. This makes Sac kinda relevant again. But what about GSW? They have wanted a 20/10 guy for like ages. How about this:

    Bellinelli, Crawford (Don Nelson doesnt want him) and Turiaf for Randolph and DeAndre Jordan.

    It makes sense, dont you think Austin?

    Run it by your client!

    I know Crawford cant be traded until July 1, before someone rips me here.

  • Dirtball Rotten

    i feel the same way. Zach is one of about 3 or 4 people who consistently gets 20-10!! every team says they need that but for some reason he always get traded away.. we at least he is rich!!! lololololol

  • David Brandon

    hahaha, nice AB. youre batting 1.000 today man.

  • johnsacrimoni

    Quit hatin’ on Milwaukee Burton. You’ve probably never even been here.

  • Broy7

    Chicago gets: Zach Randolph
    LA gets: Kirk Hinrich and Tyrus Thomas.

    A win-win situation for both teams.

  • matthew

    As an Oregonian who lives in Brooklyn and has seen a lot of Randolph games, I would say every one of those teams would be worse.

    Thats great that he gets his stats, but the NBA is about wins. Ultimately Randolph’s problem isn’t just the behavior stuff, its that he can’t just be a piece to the puzzle. Basketball is a team game and he’s a bad teammate on both ends of the court.

    You can’t run a sophisticated offense with him because he’s a black hole that absolutely chokes off ball movement, and he’s such a liability on on the other end of the court any half-way competent team can break down the defense easily.

    The only way a team takes Randolph is if its in a deal that brings them Griffin, or in some convoluted salary dump. Next summer will be different when a number of teams will be interested in acquiring his expiring contract and just benching him.

  • Diego

    If I was majority Hawks owner, we’d make that deal, which would be a power forward upgrade.

  • http://www.realgm.com Rare Air

    Get off Milwaukee its a great place to get down and watch sports – beer, brats, and 24/7 partying – but made up for it with Adriana

  • Curtis G

    Tracy will finish his career as a Rocket because he will not be traded. Houston is currently toing the luxury tax line and have indicated that they would be willing to cross it for the right player. My guess is that they will cross it (through a sign and trade) and it will likely be (get ready for this) Rip Hamilton or Ben Gordon. Houston will, of course, have to make a tough decison between Scola and Landry with my guess being that Landry will be shown the door in the trade. The Rockets will then hold on to Tracy for his last year because that is 20 MILLION big ones falling off their payroll in the prime free agent summer of 2010. That reason alone is enough to hold on to Tracy. Tracy will subsequently retire or resign with Houston for significantly less or about half of what he is making now and that’s only if he shows signs of his old self during the 09-10 season. No one will want him based on his past two years, and honestly (as much as I like the guy), I think he is done being the 13-points-in-8-seconds Tracy that we knew and loved. However, he can still light it up from the outside and he has shown some adaptivity in being able to become a facilitator which the Rockets would still need.

  • SK

    I really think it IS Randolph’s fault. sure he gts the numbers, but he’s a selfish ball-hog that takes ill-advised jumpers and isn’t even liked in the locker room (Remember the incident with Nate Robinson?) No young team will want his influence on the roster and his contract would be unwanted by any small market team. The only way the Clips will get rid of Zach is if they take a worse contract and give away a pick as well.

  • doc

    Whats wrong with Milwaukee?I would think every city got shit to do these days.

  • Michorizo

    Arco likes Nocioni because he is white…it has nothing to do with the effort given…John Salmons played hard before being traded for Nocioni and I don’t recall Arco fans loving him.

  • willie

    @ Michorizo

    Arco loved C-Webb, they love bobby jackson, john salmons tried hard, but he always stopped the ball movement, thats what they didn’t like

  • http://nerditry.com nerditry

    @Matthew : Exactly! Every successful team in this year’s playoffs can be seen to have excellent chemistry. Boston should have never gotten that far with the injuries and scrubs, but they are great together.

    Zach is subtraction by addition. A player in the mold of Steve Francis and McGrady who puts up good numbers, but does so at the expense of his teammates. I can’t imagine Chicago or Atlanta making a trade for HIM as they are both on the cusp of making the leap to Eastern contenders.

    So long as LeBron has his cast of also-rans stay together without a noticeable upgrade, quality teams are gonna give them lots of problems in the playoffs.

  • Daddy Dollars

    Pistons could use a Power Forward with a scoring touch. Don’t know how putting Zach in the D would work from a staying out of trouble standpoint, but he would look good on that team.

  • the cynic

    I can’t think of any team that would want the black hole without getting Camby. The clips have to find a player with an equally crappy contract as Z-Bo’s

  • http://freshouttatime.blogspot.com freshouttatime

    hahahahahah love the adriana lima plug… what was this entry about again?

  • superstar james p

    hey im from milwaukee.Take it easy on the city.

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