by Kevin Lipe
Now that the NBA's free agency moratorium has lifted and they're able to address the departure of Zach Randolph, the team posted an Open Letter to Z-Bo and Grizz Nation penned by GM Chris Wallace and President of Business Operations Jason Wexler.
The letter is a heartfelt expression of thanks from a team that very much knows that Zach Randolph is in no small part responsible for putting them on the NBA map:
The eight years Zach spent in the mud, in Memphis, are special. They are filled with franchise-defining basketball success, but they are so clearly about more than that. Every Memphian felt it and all of us believe it.
Zach helped establish what it means to play for the Grizzlies on the court and in the community, and in doing so helped forge an identity for our City.
Grizzlies owner Robert Pera also announced that Randolph's #50 will be retired:
The immediate retirement seems like the only thing to do in this situation. Given Randolph's relationship with the city of Memphis, and things he's meant to the Grizzlies franchise both on and off the court, this is the only right course of action.
With Randolph gone and Tony Allen's future still an open question (though it seems exceedingly likely that he will not be retained) it's clear that an era of Memphis Grizzlies history has come to an end, and a new one is beginning. There was never any question of whether the Grizzlies would retire Randolph's jersey; it was only a question of whether he'd play out the rest of his career in Memphis. Since he isn't, the time to start commemorating the "Grit & Grind" era is now.