Sunday , Jul , 19 , 2009 Oly Sandor

Memphis should’ve passed on Zach Randolph and The Hoop Family

A few weeks ago, the Memphis Grizzlies acquired the power forward from the Los Angeles Clippers for Quentin Richardson. This wasn’t a straight one-for-one deal. Along with Z-Bo’s 20 points per night, the club and city gained the exclusive rights to his entourage. Let me explain. Randolph travels with his boys from his hometown of Marion, Indiana. All twelve of them. They’re a package. This group, who dubbed themselves ‘The Hoop Family’, have had numerous run-ins with the law …


Memphis should've passed on Zach Randolph and The Hoop Family


This is a warning for the city of Memphis and the state of Tennessee: Zach Randolph and ‘The Hoop Family’ are coming.

A few weeks ago, the Memphis Grizzlies acquired the power forward from the Los Angeles Clippers for Quentin Richardson. This wasn’t a straight one-for-one deal. Along with Z-Bo’s 20 points per night, the club and city gained the exclusive rights to his entourage.

Let me explain. Randolph travels with his boys from his hometown of Marion, Indiana. All twelve of them. They’re a package. This group, who dubbed themselves ‘The Hoop Family’, have had numerous run-ins with the law.

Over the years, there were sexual assault accusations, allegations of drug abuse, driving under the influence charges, drag racing citations, fights with teammates, and Randolph’s brother was convicted of shooting three men.

To be fair, he has supporters like Michigan State coach Tom Izzo. They maintain Randolph is a good guy, who can’t turn his back on old friends. They may be right. Still, for several reasons this move won’t work.

Even the Clippers realized Randolph and blue-chip talent, like first overall pick Blake Griffin, aren’t a good mix, so they found a taker/sucker in the Grizzlies. Of course, Memphis has youngsters Mike Connelly, Marc Gasol, Rudy Gay, O.J. Mayo, and Hasheem Thabeet. These players are impressionable and, fair or not, shouldn’t be around the former Jail Blazer.

The organization’s long-term plan clashes with his short-term plan. Gasol and Thabeet need heavy minutes to develop, while Randolph also needs steady burn to pad his stats for his next contract. Something will eventually give. And the southpaw post won’t be happy sacrificing playing time for others.

Speaking of contracts, Randolph is due $33 million over the next two seasons. Memphis, even with their financial flexibility, is a struggling market. The economy is bad, the salary cap is declining, and fans aren’t turning up, so why take on such a big-ticket?

Well, they do need publicity. In a state where football and college basketball rule, fans are at least discussing the Randolph trade. Memphis, like Portland, is a small market and the four-man’s every move will likely make front page headlines.

The Grizzlies took a risk acquiring Randolph and The Hoop Family. Unfortunately, this combination seems a stretch and could be disastrous.

What do you think of Randolph heading to Memphis? Get at us with comments and thoughts in the opinion box below and come back to HoopsVibe The Blog for more NBA tidbits. Photo courtesy of Culture Shlock.