Clippers trade Randolph for Richardson

Make room for Blake Griffin.

On Wednesday the Clippers agreed to a deal that would send starting power forward Zach Randolph to the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for guard Quentin Richardson, according to an NBA source with knowledge of the deal, thus clearing the way for Griffin, the No. 1 overall pick in last week’s draft.

Due to league rules, the deal can not be completed until next week.

Randolph was the team’s leading scorer and second-leading rebounder last season. He averaged 20.9 points and 9.4 rebounds in 39 games after coming over in a midseason trade with the New York Knicks.

When the Clippers won the lottery however, there was no longer room in the frontcourt for Randolph, Chris Kaman, Marcus Camby and now Griffin, a 6-foot-10 power forward.

The deal also creates an interesting homecoming with Richardson, who played four seasons with the Clippers from 2000-04, before signing a rich free agent contract with the Phoenix Suns.

Richardson averaged 10.2 points for the New York Knicks last season, but was shipped to Memphis in a draft-day trade for Darko Milicic.

The Clippers also benefit financially from the deal, getting out from under the $33 million owed to Randolph over the next two seasons, while taking back only Richardson’s $9 million salary next season.

Because of the difference in Randolph and Richardson’s salaries, the Clippers also receive an $8 million trade exception, which they can use later.

Randolph’s agent Raymond Brothers said that his client was disappointed to learn of the deal, because he felt he had found an NBA home with the Clippers.

“It’s tough getting traded but that’s part of this business,” Brothers said. “It’s just unfortunate because Zach really felt comfortable in L.A. and felt like he’d found a home. He wanted me to thank the Clippers and (owner) Donald Sterling for the opportunity to play with them for a year.”

The two teams had discussed a deal involving Randolph on draft day,
but it fizzled, a league source said, because the Grizzlies insisted
on the Clippers taking either Marko Jaric or Greg Buckner along with
Milicic.

The Clippers insisted on taking back a player with an expiring
contract, in order to justify parting ways with a proven frontcourt
player like Randolph.

The Clippers also weren’t completely sold on adding Milicic, the
former No. 2 overall pick who has had an underwhelming NBA career,
because it would’ve added another player to an already-crowded
frontcourt.

When the Grizzlies dealt Milicic for Richardson, it reignited trade
talks.

Richardson had the best season of his career playing for the Clippers
in 2003-04, when he averaged 17.2 points and 6.4 rebounds.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email