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Marc Gasol: Grizzlies erred by letting Zach Randolph and Tony Allen leave

Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph, Tony Allen

Memphis Grizzlies guard Tony Allen (9), forward Zach Randolph, center, and center Marc Gasol (33), of Spain, walk onto the floor during a timeout in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Sacramento Kings in Memphis, Tenn., Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013. The Grizzlies defeated the Kings 108-101. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)


Marc Gasol publicly expressed frustration with then-Grizzlies coach David Fizdale. So, Memphis fired Fizdale.

Now, Gasol is questioning the Grizzlies’ front office.

Gasol, Mike Conley, Zach Randolph and Tony Allen formed Memphis’ Grit & Grind core. Last season, Gasol explained why the Grizzlies must re-sign Randolph and Allen: “One is the president of Memphis. The other is mayor.” But Memphis let both Randolph (Kings) and Allen (Pelicans) walk in free agency.

Clay Bailey of the Associated Press:
Gasol called letting forward Zach Randolph and guard Tony Allen leave as free agents last summer a mistake.

Ron Tillery of The Commercial-Appeal:

he believes the franchise broke up the “core four” too soon.

“I didn’t understand the why,” Gasol said.

“Zach and Tony being gone has been more difficult than you guys can see on the floor,” Gasol said.

Randolph (36) and Allen (35) appeared to be declining. In theory, there’s nothing wrong with rebuilding.

But the Grizzlies clearly aren’t ready to rebuild, and Randolph and Allen would have made the team stronger in the short term. Instead, Memphis opted for a listless present with barely much more long-term upside. The Grizzlies would have been better off re-signing Randolph and Allen and letting a proud, though aging, core fight valiantly.

Randolph is having a resurgent season in Sacramento, and perhaps he would’ve stayed in Memphis for less than the $24 million over two years the Kings gave him. Allen hasn’t done much in New Orleans, but he was openly willing to take a discount to stay with the Grizzlies, and he would have helped preserve their chemistry.

Gasol was obviously fond of both Randolph and Allen after their years together, but his comments were only somewhat about those two. Gasol was also implicitly venting about playing on a 9-23 team.

Don’t expect the Grizzlies to fire general manager Chris Wallace the way they dumped Fizdale after Gasol complained, not with this ownership situation.