By David Aldridge, TNT Analyst
Posted Jul 2 2009 6:57AM
A week after the Los Angeles Clippers backed out of a proposed trade that would have sent forward Zach Randolph to the Memphis Grizzlies, the Clippers have changed their minds and will now agree to the deal, with newly acquired Memphis swingman Quentin Richardson going to the Clippers, TNT's David Aldridge reports. The deal can't officially be announced until next week.
The deal would clear a logjam for the Clippers' frontcourt. The team was determined to make room for its first-round pick, overall number one selection Blake Griffin, but playing time was split up between Randolph, center Chris Kaman and forward/center Marcus Camby. It was believed that Randolph, with his low-post skills, was the safest of the three, because halfcourt basketball is the preference of Coach Mike Dunleavy. But Kaman's contract, with an expensive trade kicker, may have made him more difficult to deal.
The trade probably wouldn't have been made if the Clippers hadn't won the Lottery, but they did, and Griffin's presence signals a likely change to a more up-tempo attack in Los Angeles next season.
The 27-year-old Randolph averaged 20.8 points and 10.8 rebounds last season, playing the first 11 games in New York and 39 in Los Angeles after being dealt by the Knicks in a package for Cuttino Mobley and forward Tim Thomas. It was the second straight season Randolph averaged more than 20 points and 10 rebounds.
It's a low-risk deal for Memphis, which hasn't had a legitimate low-post option since dealing Pau Gasol to the Lakers in that often-vilified deal in early 2008. But that deal brought forward Marc Gasol, Pau's brother and the team's starting center last season, and the other pieces in the deal ultimately led to the Grizzlies getting a draft pick in last week's draft that turned into Pittsburgh forward Sam Young. Young was one of three solid picks in last week's draft, along with center Hasheem Thabeet and forward DeMarre Carroll.
The deal also makes the Clippers yet another team that could be a player in the summer of 2010. With the final two years and $33.3 million of Randolph's deal off their books (Richardson has one year at $8.7 million left on his contract), Los Angeles will only have a little more than $36 million committed in team salaries, including Griffin's second-year salary of $4.4 million, for 2010.
The Grizzlies changed potential players in the deal to make it work. Last week, they had offered forward Marco Jaric for Randolph, but with two years and $14.7 million left on his deal, he wouldn't have given the Clippers with the potential to get involved in 2010 that Richardson's contract provides, and owner Donald Sterling nixed the deal.
Richardson, 29, has seen his production fall off in recent seasons. He averaged just 10.2 points in 72 games for New York last season. The Grizzlies traded center Darko Milicic to the Knicks last week for Richardson, but there was no place for him in Memphis with O.J. Mayo well set at the shooting guard spot and Rudy Gay the incumbent at small forward. So in essence, the Grizzlies were able to turn Milicic into Randolph.
Richardson spent his first four seasons with the Clippers after being drafted by them in 2000.
Hoopsworld and the Los Angeles Times first reported the potential trade.
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