Memphis Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace and president of business operations Jason Wexler wrote an open letter to Zach Randolph in which they thanked the former Grizzlies forward and stated that his No. 50 would be retired by the team. Randolph reportedly has agreed to sign with the Sacramento Kings this offseason, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Here’s a portion of that letter, per NBA.com:
“It’s always about basketball—but sometimes it’s about more than basketball. That’s when it’s special.
“The eight years Zach spent in the mud, in Memphis, are special. They are filled with franchise-defining basketball success, but they are so clearly about more than that. Every Memphian felt it and all of us believe it.
“Zach helped establish what it means to play for the Grizzlies on the court and in the community, and in doing so helped forge an identity for our City.
“His numerous on the court accomplishments speak for themselves. He is our all-time leader in field goals, rebounds and of course, takedowns. …
“While there will be a time and place to recognize your lasting impact in Memphis, starting today, as stated earlier by Controlling Owner, Robert Pera, number 50 will never be worn by any other member of the Memphis Grizzlies.
The letter also wished Randolph luck going forward and thanked the power forward for his time with the organization.
“To Zach—thank you for all the joy and magical moments too numerous to count,” Wallace and Wexler wrote. “Thank you for the energy and excitement you brought each and every night to FedExForum. Thank you for your leadership and service. Thank you for your larger than life impact and for keeping all Memphians warm. Thank you.”
Randolph, 35, spent eight seasons with the Grizzlies, averaging 16.8 points and 10.2 points. The Grizzlies thrived in that time, making the postseason in seven consecutive seasons. The trio of Marc Gasol, Mike Conley Jr. and Randolph led the team to the most sustained success in franchise history.
From 1995 to 2010, the Grizzlies had made the postseason just three times.
The Kings reportedly will pay Randolph $24 million over two seasons. He remained effective for the Grizzlies in the 2016-17 season, averaging 14.1 points and 8.2 rebounds in 24.5 minutes per game, largely coming off the bench in a reserve role.
In Sacramento, Randolph will be a mentor to the team’s young trio of promising big men, Harry Giles (19), Skal Labissiere (21) and Willie Cauley-Stein (23). If his impact on the Kings is as positive as his tenure in the Grizzlies organization, his salary will be money well spent in Sacramento.
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