The Memphis Grizzlies may have decided to keep Mike Conley on their roster for the rest of the 2018-19 NBA season, but it doesn't necessarily mean that they still consider him as part of their long-term future. In the 2019 NBA offseason, the Grizzlies are expected to find a trade partner for Conley that will give them assets that could help them speed up the rebuilding process. According to SB Nation's Grizzly Bear Blues, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN revealed in the NBA Mock Draft special that three NBA teams emerged as strong suitors for Conley.
These include the Boston Celtics, Utah Jazz, and the Indiana Pacers. Some people may be surprised with the inclusion of the Celtics, knowing that they still have Kyrie Irving on their roster. However, according to NBA.com, Irving has recently opted out of the final year of his contract to become an unrestricted free agent next July. Celtics President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Danny Ainge said that they will do everything they can to convince Irving to stay in Boston.
However, in the past months, multiples signs are pointing out that Kyrie Irving will be leaving the Celtics to chase for his second NBA championship title somewhere else. In the potential departure of Irving, the Celtics aren't expected to undergo a rebuilding process and will still look to add quality players that can help them remain competitive in the 2019-20 NBA season. This is why SB Nation's Grizzly Bear Blues believes trading for Mike Conley makes a lot of sense for the Celtics.
"Even at 31 years old, Conley is still capable of playing at an All-Star level. He's a perfect fit in Brad Stevens' egalitarian offense, as he's a great facilitator that can get you a bucket when needed. More importantly, he's going to provide that stable veteran leadership they desperately needed this past season from Kyrie. Acquiring Conley isn't super splashy, but it legitimately helps their chances at contending for a title."To acquire Mike Conley from the Grizzlies, SB Nation's Grizzly Bear Blues suggested that the Celtics could send a trade package including Gordon Hayward and a future first-round pick. Though the future first-round selection will enable the Grizzlies to add another young and promising talent on their roster, the inclusion of Hayward could raise the eyebrows of most Grizzlies' fans, especially knowing that he no longer fits the timeline of Memphis.
However, SB Nation's Grizzly Bear Blues explained that Gordon Hayward could serve as the veteran leader that could lift the pressure off Jaren Jackson Jr. and Ja Morant, whom the Grizzlies are expected to select using the No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. In the 2020 NBA offseason, Hayward's expiring contract will be valuable to teams who are eyeing to contend for the NBA championship title while preserving their salary cap space for the summer of 2021.