There have been multiple reports in recent weeks that suggest teams have plenty of interest in Zach Randolph of the Memphis Grizzlies, but owner Michael Heisley needs to think twice before pulling the trigger on any potential deal for the former All-Star.
Heisley already gave away one All-Star power forward when he allowed Pau Gasol to be gift-wrapped and sent to the Los Angeles Lakers. If he makes the same mistake again, he might as well break out the cardboard boxes and packing tape and get ready to leave town.
The Grizzlies already have struggles filling up the FedEx Forum on most nights and handing away one of the team's best players midseason won't help in that department.
There is no way Memphis will receive equal value for Randolph in any move, and that is unacceptable for the Grizzlies if Heisley wants to keep his promise of reaching the postseason this year.
Randolph is one of the most important pieces for the Grizzlies to reach that goal and they will need him down the stretch if they want to make their first trip back to the playoffs in five years. He is averaging 20.2 points and 13.2 rebounds per game so far this season, and he is definitely one of the top power forwards in the league this season.
The Orlando Magic, Houston Rockets, Cleveland Cavaliers, New Jersey Nets and Golden State Warriors are all said to have expressed some interest in acquiring Randolph from the Grizzlies before next week's trade deadline.
While several of the teams, including the Magic, are believed to be prepared to offer packages of players and draft picks, there is no way any of the above mentioned teams would make an offer that would replace Randolph's value and production in the immediate future.
Since the team has already committed a large amount of money in Rudy Gay and Mike Conley, and they seemingly have the intention of doing the same with Marc Gasol this summer in the offseason, there doesn't seem to be much hope for Memphis to retain Randolph beyond this season since his contract is expiring.
While it might be a good idea for Heisley to consider moving Randolph to avoid losing him for nothing in free agency this summer, it would also be a good idea for him to take a moment to remember his postseason promise and its importance to the Grizzlies fanbase.
I think most local fans would agree that they would rather gamble on Z-Bo leaving via free agency after he helps Memphis reach the playoffs than have Heisley deal him now for future picks and bad contracts.
The only power forwards in the league that are producing on or near Randolph's level right now are Kevin Love, Amare Stoudemire and Blake Griffin, and I highly doubt any of their respective teams will be burning up the phone lines to make a swap for Z-Bo. If Heisley wants to keep his promise of reaching the playoffs this season, keeping Randolph for the remainder of the year is a necessity.