Clearing the way for No. 1 pick Blake Griffin, the Clippers have agreed to trade power forward Zach Randolph to Memphis for former Clipper Quentin Richardson, The Times learned today.
Because of salary-cap rules, the deal can’t be completed until next week.
A Clippers spokesman said the team would have no comment on the report.
Randolph played 39 games for the Clippers last season after being acquired from New York, averaging 20.9 points and 9.4 rebounds, both team highs.
He was a core member of the team, right up until the Clippers won the lottery that enabled them to draft Griffin, considered one of the top power forward prospects in recent years.
Beyond that, the Clippers are intent on turning up the pace, which didn’t fit Randolph, a half-court low-post player, but is perfect for the speedy Griffin.
It also works for the Clippers’ bottom line, and their salary cap. With Richardson under contract for only this season, the deal gets them out from under Randolph’s contract, which has two seasons, worth $33.3 million left on it.
This will have the effect of putting the Clippers far under the salary cap after the upcoming season, which may make them major players for the big 2010 free agent class.