The Memphis Grizzlies are widely expected to select their point guard of the future at the 2019 NBA Draft on Thursday, as Murray State standout Ja Morant is expected to go behind Duke’s Zion Williamson as this year’s second overall selection. With that in mind, reports suggest that the Grizzlies are ramping up their efforts to trade longtime starting point guard Mike Conley.
As cited by NBC Sports Boston, Shams Charania of The Athletic wrote on Monday that the Grizzlies are “intensifying” trade talks involving Conley, and have specifically been in touch with the Utah Jazz, who remain the top favorites to acquire the 31-year-old point guard. This, as noted, would especially be true if Memphis trades Conley before the draft on Thursday.
In his report, Charania did not mention the Boston Celtics as a possible destination for Conley. However, NBC Sports Boston wrote that the veteran guard “could be on Boston’s radar” if Kyrie Irving leaves as expected via free agency and if Irving’s backup, Terry Rozier, decides to try his luck with another team via restricted free agency. Playing 70 games last season, Conley averaged 21.1 points, 3.4 rebounds, 6.4 assists, and 1.3 steals per game for a Grizzlies team that finished tied for 12th place in the Western Conference with a 33-49 record.
Talking about trade scenarios that could allow the Celtics to land Mike Conley, NBC Sports Boston echoed previous suggestions that the team could trade away another player with a similarly lucrative contract, such as wingman Gordon Hayward or center Al Horford, given that Conley will be earning $32.5 million in the 2019-20 NBA season. The outlet also hinted at the “far-fetched” option of a sign-and-trade deal that would send Irving to Memphis and Conley to Boston.
— Bleacher Report NBA (@BR_NBA) June 18, 2019
As Conley is still likely to end up with the Jazz, it was also pointed out that his arrival in Utah could ensure that the team’s incumbent starting point guard, Ricky Rubio, walks away via free agency. Since Rubio previously mentioned the Celtics as one of his desired landing spots, he could likewise serve as a solid replacement for Irving as Boston retools its roster this summer.
Rumors of the Celtics coming behind the Jazz as a potential destination for Mike Conley are nothing new. Last week, The Inquisitr reported that ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski mentioned Boston — along with Utah and the Indiana Pacers — as one of three teams that could make a move for the Ohio State product in the 2019 offseason. This report also recapped a hypothetical trade scenario — courtesy of Fansided‘s Beale Street Bears blog — that would allow Conley to join the Celtics in exchange for Hayward going to the Grizzlies.