On Tuesday, the Memphis Grizzlies got lucky in this year’s NBA Draft Lottery, landing the No. 2 overall pick and, as Uproxx noted, a chance to draft their potential point guard of the future, Murray State standout Ja Morant. That could also mean the end of the Mike Conley era in Memphis, and as a new report claims, the Utah Jazz could potentially make another move for the veteran point guard this summer.
On Wednesday, The Ringer‘s Kevin O’Connor noted that the Grizzlies could have multiple options when they pick second overall in next month’s draft, including the “playmaking savant” Morant and Duke forward/guard R.J. Barrett, who could be an effective two-way player for the team. Regarding Morant, O’Connor added that the highly-touted prospect could come off the bench and learn behind Conley. However, he cited “multiple” unnamed league sources, who believe the Jazz could “make another push” for Conley in the 2019 offseason, following their failed attempt to acquire him prior to the February trade deadline.
Although O’Connor wrote that the Grizzlies could trade Conley to the Jazz and get a fresh start at the point guard spot, he hinted that Memphis could also trade down in the draft, as teams such as the Phoenix Suns (No. 6 overall) “have [had] a crush” on Morant for some time as a solution for their long-running problem at the position.
As noted by Bleacher Report, the 31-year-old Conley averaged a career-high 21.1 points and added 3.4 rebounds, 6.6 assists, 1.3 steals, and 2.2 three-point shots made per game in the 2018-19 campaign, as he successfully came back from a 2017-18 season where he missed all but 12 games due to injuries. He has played his entire professional career with the Grizzlies, who selected him with the fourth overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft.
JUST ANNOUNCED: Mike Conley has been selected as one of five finalists for the 2018-19 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award.— Memphis Grizzlies (@memgrizz) May 10, 2019
Following a 2018-19 season where the Grizzlies finished with a 33-49 record and missed the playoffs for the second straight year, Conley admitted in April that he still wants to win his first NBA championship, especially at this point in his NBA career where he has been in the league for over a decade.
“The opportunity to win a ring, it would be like, ‘Ah, man, I missed that opportunity,'” Conley continued, as quoted by Bleacher Report. “But after that, being here is home. Being here is all I know. I love the guys here. I love the people here.”
Meanwhile, the Utah Jazz have enjoyed substantial regular-season success in recent years but got eliminated by the Houston Rockets in the first round of this year’s playoffs. According to Bleacher Report, the team could potentially have enough “financial flexibility” to absorb Conley’s lucrative contract in the 2019 offseason if they allow their current starting point guard, Ricky Rubio, to walk away as an unrestricted free agent.