What people in New York know now is what people in Portland knew then; getting Randolph off of your team is worth any cost. He is a multipronged assault on winning basketball. The impressive statistics he puts up make him the ultimate trojan horse.
New York dumped Randolph, who was 27 years old and putting up excellent stats as always, to the Clippers for Tim Thomas and a Cat. Some in Clipperland couldn't believe the excellent deal they got. New York fans were mostly just relieved it was over.
Mr. Hoop Fam didn't last long in Los Angeles, either. After one injury plagued season (where he averaged 20 and 9, of course) the Clips got what they could for Zach. This time it was Quentin Richardson's expiring contract, which was promptly sent in Minnesota for Sebastian Telfair, Craig Smith, and Mark Madsen.
Now Zach is in Memphis. The story is set to repeat. Once again, there is actually some optimism of Zach's arrival. Check this article explaining why the deal might work. There are six factors working in favor of this improving the team, says Chris Herrington. I recommend reading the whole article, but here are those six factors in summary. My knee-jerk reactions in italics.
1. Zach has matured
Every player with ongoing issues gets a "... he has finally matured" buzz leading up to training camp. The fact that Zach has had several years of these articles should keep one skeptical enough.
2. He won't have any jackass teammates to encourage his stupidity.
The painful "you can have one knucklehead on your team" cliche is trotted out here. Yes, having an a-hole team culture can make things worse. Nobody knows this more than Blazer fans. But you got more than Zach Randolph when you pulled that trade, you got the whole Hoop Fam crew. It doesn't matter how many boy scouts Z-Bo has for teammates, away from the court he has his own cadre of "knuckleheads" to maintain the status quo.
3. Damon Stoudamire will keep him in line
Are you serious?
4. Contract year
There are tons of stories about Zach placing much greater concern on his statistics than team success. It seems like his contract year will only intensify this. You thought he was a black hole before? Get ready Memphis.
5. Teammates will compensate for his basketball weaknesses
On the surface it would seem that having a defensive center would minimize the impact of Zach's defensive woes. The problem is that Zach is such a liability your defensive Center juggernaught will spend a great deal of his time rotating over to help. With this constant need, this defensive Center is not only leaving his man open for put-backs or interior passing, but in contantly tending to Zach's responsibility he is rendered much less of a force in his own right. Ask Joel Przybilla.
6. The team doesn't have to commit to him long-term
We've seen that having Zach even for a short period of time is not going to produce wins for your team. Understand: having him at all is not good.