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As Memphis Grizzlies owner Robert Pera and interim general manager Chris Wallace regain control of basketball operations in the wake of CEO Jason Levien's firing, there appears to be one immediate benefit for the franchise's future: the chances of re-signing popular star Zach Randolph.
Randolph, 32, has until June 30 to trigger a $16.5 million player option on the final season of his contract and already had begun preliminary discussions on a long-term extension with Memphis, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Randolph is an extremely popular figure in the Memphis community, and has expressed a strong desire to finish his career in the city where his NBA career has truly blossomed.
Randolph has talked directly with Pera in the past week and he and his agent Raymond Brothers sensed a serious commitment to keep Randolph in Memphis with a new deal.
"We have a great level of comfort and trust with Robert Pera and Chris Wallace," Brothers told Yahoo Sports on Monday. "Chris and I have been working together for years. He is a good guy."
Brothers negotiated an extension for his client Tony Allen a year ago. Wallace was responsible for bringing Randolph to Memphis in a 2009 trade.
Randolph has twice been an All-Star for the Grizzlies. He averaged 17.4 points and 10.1 rebounds this season.
Wallace, a popular figure in the Memphis community and responsible for resurrecting the franchise as GM, had been exiled out of basketball operations by Levien. Wallace has strong contacts and relationships around the NBA, and rival GMs and agents told Yahoo they're thrilled to be dealing with him again in an official capacity for Memphis.
The Grizzlies plan to start a search for a new GM and will consider Wallace as a candidate. Nevertheless, Pera has insisted Wallace will continue to be a part of the organization whether he's chosen to run the team on a full-term basis again or not.
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