L.A. Problems For Zach Randolph

Zach Randolph was arrested on felony marijuana possession with intent to sell. The arrest was at the end of a brouhaha that led to police cars being damaged. Two guns were also confiscated and two cars were impounded. Randolph was arrested at 11:00 p.m. and released Thursday morning.  His bail was set at $20,000. He will be back in court at the end of August.  August 31. This was the second Los Angeles arrest for Randolph. In 2009 while with the Clippers, he was arrested for investigation of drunken driving.

According to the agent of Zach Randolph, Raymond Brothers, the charges are misleading and false and they are trying to resolve the matter. California law specifies more than 28 grams of marijuana is illegal, even if it is for private use.

According to the initial reports from police officers at the scene, they approached a large group who were blocking a street leading into the Nickerson Gardens housing project in Watts. When they tried to disperse the crowd, the trouble started.  The police called for backup. Bottles were thrown. Police car tires were slashed and windows broken. Besides Randolph, another male was arrested at the scene, 43 year old Stanley Wilson, an ex-convict, charged with carrying a gun.

Randolph entered the NBA in 2001 after one year at Michigan State and playing in the Final Four. He was drafted by the Blazers in the first round and three years later won Most Improved Player.  His career high came as a Blazer, 43 points 17 rebounds. He was traded to the Knicks in 2007 and had an 18 and 10 year. He was traded to the Clippers and instantly transformed their image into his: toughness, competitiveness, bully ball.

In a game against the Suns he punched Lou Amundson in the face. He was traded again, this time to the Grizzlies, where he had his greatest impact, resurrecting a franchise that was floundering and that no one took seriously.

His first year in Memphis, he was an All-Star and instantly elevated the franchise and the city who idolized and identified with his no nonsense physicality and gritty play. The following year, as the 8th seed, the Grizzlies shocked the #1 seed Spurs and knocked them out the playoffs in the first round. More important than the throttling of the Spurs, those four wins were the first four wins in Grizzlies playoff history. Randolph became a Memphis legend. His 31 points and 17 points in the 4th quarter set the table for his Grizzlies stardom. He had epic battles with the Los Angeles Clippers. He often dominated the Oklahoma City Thunder in the playoffs and one year he was suspended in a game 7 against the Thunder. It changed the outcome and created conspiracy chatter.

Seventeen months ago, Randolph had his first triple double. The player who put the Grizzlies on the map with his rebounding, scoring and competitive fire had the stats of a complete player: 28 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists against the Clippers, the Grizzlies nemesis.

Randolph is the Grizzlies leader in made field goals. He is first in rebounds and third in scoring. He is directly responsible for seven straight playoff appearances.  Last season, he set the record for double-doubles (20) for a bench player. The Grizzlies plan to retire his number 50 as they should, arrest or no arrest. He lifted them from the dredges of mediocrity and cluelessness.

There is enough evidence to suggest that Randolph has some culpability but what and how much will be determined in the weeks ahead. He’s a rich athlete so he’ll get the rich athlete treatment, a huge fine and a diversion program. The league will have their say too which will impact the Sacramento Kings in the short run. The last time he was arrested in Los Angeles, he served a two game suspension. Adam Silver, depending on the facts of the case, will come down harsher just for purposes of an example.


photo via llananba