Zach Randolph Implicated in Drug Bust
The locker room cancer, the perennial headcase, the 20/10 disaster, finding redemption in a small-market team that was the only one willing to take him on its roster. Heartwarming, genuine, and a ray of hope in a place often referred to as Basketball Hell.
Zach Randolph shook off his reputation and put in one of the best seasons of his career, earning an All-Star berth and leading the Grizzlies, if not to playoff contention, then at least to respectability. Things looked like they had turned around for him. And that may all be down the drain.
Randolph has been named in a probable cause affidavit as "a major marijuana supplier in Indianapolis," according to Indianapolis' local ABC affiliate, News 6.
The evidence in question is serious. A person employed by Randolph was found with a car with hidden compartments containing weapons and marijuana. Storage facilities were raided. Drugs. Guns. The word "kingpin" is being floated around, even jokingly, that's not funny.
This is not a situation like Gilbert Arenas, wrought of carelessness and foolish impulse compounded by a poor attitude. If these elements are in fact revealed to be tied to Randolph, it could very well put him in prison for a long time, to say nothing of the effect on his team.
The Grizzlies plan to release a statement Thursday in support of Randolph. Randolph, alongside Marc Gasol, helped keep the Grizzlies in playoff contention for much of the season until late injuries and a tough schedule knocked them back below .500. Randolph was consistently praised for his attitude in particular, and how he had managed to stay out of trouble. Maturity was a big word for Randolph in Memphis.
And now all of that may be washed away if the report is true. Even if Randolph was not directly involved, his assets were used for illegal activities and the odds of him actually being oblivious to those activities as his lawyer is contending are very low.
Memphis looked like it had found an unconventional approach back to NBA competitiveness. Randolph's off-court issues may sink it back into the quagmire. And that's the least of the Grizzlies' worries. The implications of this development are severe, in the strictest way possible. No finger guns or anything.
It's not that we didn't see this coming. It's that we convinced ourselves it was gone from the horizon.