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The 32-year-old, 13-year veteran has spent the last five-years in Memphis and is largely credited with sparking the Grizzlies’ resurgence, including this year’s 50-32 regular season finish and Western Conference playoff berth. Randolph’s 17.4 ppg and 10.1 rebounds led the Grizzlies this season, and during the team’s first-round, seven game playoff series loss to Oklahoma City he increased those numbers to 18.4 and 8.7.
Randolph can officially become a free agent on July 1, by opting out of the final year of a deal set to pay him $17 million. Though the Hornets, or no other team for that matter, are not expected to offer Randolph an annual deal that lucrative, Fansided.com reports with as much as $19.5 million in projected cap space Charlotte could be open to a deal in the $47 to $64 million range over three to four seasons.
Sparked by the signing of Jefferson last summer, Charlotte went 43-39 this season, earning Michael Jordan’s team its first Eastern Conference playoff berth in several seasons. The Hornets are also rumored to be potentially interested in Lakers forward Pau Gasol, who will also become a free agent this summer but may now be leaning toward returning to L.A. and Kobe Bryant with Mike D’Antoni now out as coach.
Despite averaging 17.4 points and 9.7 rebounds, Gasol openly expressed his frustrations in playing in the veteran coach’s uptempo offense. Without Bryant for all but six games, the Lakers struggled to the team’s worst finish in (27-55) franchise history. Tom Thibodeau, Stan Van Gundy, Mark Jackson and Byron Scott have all been prominently mentioned as possible replacements for D’Antoni.
Meanwhile, the 29-year-old Jefferson led the Hornets with averages of 22 points, 11 rebounds and two assists. Randolph’s best season came in Minnesota in 2008-09, when he averaged 23.1 points, 11 rebounds and 1.7 blocks.
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