After struggling earlier in the 2018-19 NBA season, the Memphis Grizzlies decided to make a huge roster shakeup before the February NBA trade deadline. With their goal being to prioritize the development of their young players, the Grizzlies parted ways with some of their veterans, including Marc Gasol, JaMychal Green, and Shelvin Mack. However, despite receiving multiple offers from several NBA teams, including the Utah Jazz, the Grizzlies chose to keep Mike Conley on their roster for the rest of the season.
One of the major reasons why the Grizzlies decided not to trade Conley before the February NBA trade deadline is because they view him as a mentor to Jaren Jackson Jr., the No. 4 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft and the man who is currently being groomed to be the next face of the franchise. When the 2018-19 NBA season is over, the Grizzlies are expected to explore trading Conley once again and, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, Memphis could resume their trade discussion with the Jazz in June.
“Memphis seriously discussed sending Conley to the Jazz prior to the deadline, and those talks could pick back up in June, according to multiple front office executives.”
Trading Mike Conley next summer will be a smart move for the Grizzlies since the veteran point guard has an early termination option on his contract that will enable him to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2020. At this point in his NBA career, Conley will likely want to play for a legitimate playoff contender, rather than staying on a rebuilding team like the Grizzlies.
KOC on Zion’s impact on Tankapalooza 2019 — https://t.co/Z7WoSqtYXs
Recappables: Billions — https://t.co/rTgxjizDod
Winging It pod w/ Mike Conley — https://t.co/qZALzmIUiX
Sports Rewatchables: SF-Sea, 2013 NFC Title – https://t.co/NR6TNynx0f
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) March 18, 2019
It’s not a surprise why the Jazz aren’t giving up yet with their pursuit of Mike Conley. With Ricky Rubio’s contract set to expire after the 2018-19 NBA season, the Jazz need to find a starting-caliber point guard who could play alongside Donovan Mitchell next season. Conley will not only give the Jazz an All-Star caliber floor general, but also a very reliable scoring option next to Mitchell.
At age 31, Mike Conley remains impressive on both ends of the floor and is currently averaging 20.7 points, 6.4 assists, and 1.4 steals on 43.5 percent shooting from the field and 35.9 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Pairing him with Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert could give the Jazz a realistic chance of contending for the NBA championship in the 2019-20 NBA season.
As of now, it remains unknown what type of trade assets the Jazz are willing to give up for Mike Conley, but it is highly likely that the Grizzlies will demand a combination of young players and future draft picks for the veteran point guard.