Trade rumors swirl as Grizzlies host Kings
Two teams reportedly looking to unload all-time greats from the Memphis franchise meet Friday night when the Grizzlies host the Sacramento Kings.
The clubs will be meeting for the fourth and final time this season, with the home team having prevailed in each of the first three matchups.
Those three games have each been decided by eight or fewer points, with the clubs even at 303-303 in total points.
None of those 606 points has been scored by Sacramento's Zach Randolph, the third-leading scorer (9,261 points) and second-leading rebounder (5,612) in Grizzlies history.
Though healthy enough to practice on a regular basis, Randolph has seen no action this season after averaging 14.5 points and 6.7 rebounds last season for Sacramento.
After eight years with the Grizzlies, Randolph left the franchise as a free agent following the 2017 season, getting a two-year, $24 million contract from the Kings.
He has an expiring contract this season, one that the Kings reportedly have been shopping on the trade market. Among other players, the 37-year-old has been linked to the New York Knicks' Enes Kanter, who is in the final year of a contract that pays him $18.6 million.
"I want to play, I love to play and I still feel like I've got a lot left," Randolph told reporters earlier this season, "but I understand what they're doing with these young guys."
Despite two straight losses and three in four games to begin a six-game trip, the Kings (24-24) remain in the thick of the Western Conference playoff chase.
The Grizzlies (19-29) have lost seven straight and 13 of 14.
The skid has prompted Grizzlies owner Robert Pera to tell point guard Mike Conley and center Marc Gasol that they are on the trading block.
"It was just making us aware that our names would be thrown out there," Conley said to reporters.
"Not that one of us or both of us are going to be gone by next Tuesday or by All-Star break. I feel just as good about being here as the next person. I'm not worried right now. A lot can happen in a few weeks. Right now, I'm just taking it in stride."
Conley (765) and Gasol (763) rank 1-2 in Grizzlies history in games played, with Randolph third at 551.
Gasol is the franchise leader in points (11,576), while Conley is first in assists (4,342).
Conley leads the team in scoring this season at 20.0 points per game. Gasol is the top rebounder at 8.7
The news has put coach J.B. Bickerstaff in an odd position.
"It's obviously a distraction; it's obviously on people's minds," he told reporters this week. "But the only way we can handle it is by paying attention to what's important now. We have no control over tomorrow. We don't have any control over what happened yesterday. We can't waste energy on the what-ifs."
The Grizzlies have lost to New Orleans by 20 points and Charlotte by 11 to open a five-game homestand.
--Field Level Media
Updated January 24, 2019