Zach Randolph, franchise player.

Can we go ahead and call him that now?

The Trail Blazers discarded him because they didn't want him hanging around with Greg Oden. The Knicks gave him up for cap room to pursue LeBron James. The Clippers ditched him to make room for Blake Griffin. The Grizzlies got him because, well, who else were they going to get?

"At the time, he might have been the only player who would have accepted a trade to the Grizzlies," said assistant coach Damon Stoudamire, who played with Randolph during his Portland days.

So it was done. A misbegotten team got a vagabond player. Two years later, neither would have it any other way.

Randolph is the face of the Memphis Grizzlies. He is also the soul, the heart and the reason they were spending Monday morning basking in their 1-0 lead over the San Antonio Spurs.

Randolph did his basking with ice packs on both knees. The right side of his head was slightly swollen, from the pummeling that comes with his job.

But he was happy. Happy to talk about his new four-year, $71 million contract with the Grizzlies. Happy with the work he did to earn it, and with the newfound stability it represents.

"This is where I wanted to be," he said. "Memphis felt like the right place for me."

What is it with some athletes and some cities? How is it that the fit can so often feel so right?

You've got Babe Ruth in New York. You've got Stan Musial in St. Louis. Somehow, it wouldn't have worked the other way around.