Memphis forward Zach Randolph has agreed to a contract extension with the Grizzlies, his agent said Friday.
Raymond Brothers confirmed to The Associated Press in a text message a Yahoo Sports report that Randolph is exercising his $16.5 million option for the 2014-15 season and has agreed on a two-year extension worth $20 million.
Since coming to Memphis in 2009, Randolph has been a cornerstone of the Grizzlies franchise. His return indicates the Grizzlies will bring back the nucleus of a team that won 50 games this season and lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.
Randolph averaged 17.4 points and 10.1 rebounds this season to lead the Grizzlies in both categories, though he was suspended for the final game of the Oklahoma City series after punching Thunder center Steven Adams in the jaw.
He owns career averages of 17.2 points, 9.4 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 13 NBA seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Clippers and Grizzlies. After bouncing around a few organizations early in his career, Randolph has found a home in Memphis while helping the Grizzlies make four consecutive playoff appearances.
Randolph, who turns 33 on July 16, made the All-Star game in 2010 and 2013 to become the only Memphis player with multiple All-Star appearances. He helped lead the Grizzlies to a Western Conference finals appearance in 2013. He also emerged as arguably the team’s most popular player for the way he exemplified the Grizzlies’ “grit ‘n’ grind” mentality.
The Randolph extension stole most of the attention on a day when the Grizzlies also introduced first-round draft pick Jordan Adams and second-round selection Jarnell Stokes.
Adams, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard from UCLA picked 22nd overall, could boost the offense of a Grizzlies team that averaged just 96 points last season. Stokes, a 6-foot-8 forward from Tennessee, should provide energy and rebounding.
“I think they’re going to be pros for the next 10 years,” Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger said. “I really do.”
Stokes’ selection represents a homecoming for the Memphis native who recalled watching Grizzlies games “from the nosebleeds” section while in high school. The Grizzlies traded for Stokes after the Utah Jazz drafted him with the 35th overall pick.
“I was just watching every single thing that players do,” Stokes said. “I really liked Zach Randolph. I really liked how he used his leverage and how he’s able just to find a way to make it happen when guys continuously doubt him. I definitely would love to learn from a guy like Zach Randolph.”
Now he’s going to get that chance.
AP Basketball Writer Brian Mahoney in New York contributed to this report.