After 12 years of representing the team that selected him as the No. 4 overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, All-Star point guard Mike Conley parted ways with the Memphis Grizzlies this summer. Early in July, the Grizzlies and the Utah Jazz completed a deal that sent Conley to Salt Lake City in exchange for Grayson Allen, Kyle Korver, Jae Crowder, and draft picks. The departure of Conley has undeniably broken the heart of lots of Grizzlies’ fans, but the move is definitely what’s best for both parties.
With the Grizzlies heading into an inevitable rebuild, keeping a 31-year-old superstar on their roster no longer makes any sense. Despite how things ended between him and the Grizzlies, Mike Conley has nothing but gratitude to his former team. In a recent interview with Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype, Conley thanked the Grizzlies for molding him into the player that he is right now.
“Memphis made me,” Conley said. “I always say that. The experiences I had in that city and with those fans made me.”
Mike Conley’s stint with the Grizzlies might have already come to an end, but his story is far from over. At 31, Conley still hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down, and he remains as one of the elite point guards in the league. In 70 games he played last season, Conley averaged a career-high 21.1 points, together with 6.4 assists and 1.3 steals, while shooting 43.8 percent from the field and 36.4 percent from beyond the arc.
Mike Conley has spent some time working out with Donovan Mitchell this summer. Conley explained what makes Mitchell "a truly special player" and why he's "easy to work with." This duo is going to be a lot of fun! Check out the full, wide-ranging Q&A here: https://t.co/PeqAxoRqnu pic.twitter.com/mGRS9kdUIO— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) August 14, 2019
After suffering two disappointing seasons with the Grizzlies, Mike Conley has a strong chance of returning to the Western Conference Playoffs next season with the Jazz. With the improvements they made this summer, Conley revealed that the Jazz only has one goal in mind which is to bring home the first Larry O’Brien Trophy to Utah next season.
“Well, after talking to Coach Quin, we all realize what the ultimate goal is – and it’s everyone’s ultimate goal – and that’s winning a championship. We know that. Are we going to achieve the daily goals to become a champion? Whether that be getting the most out of each other every practice and shootaround, making sure we’re 100 percent locked in before games, making sure we’re always on time with nobody wandering in late, sacrificing different things in between the lines.”
With the core of Mike Conley, Donovan Mitchell, Joe Ingles, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and Rudy Gobert, the Jazz undeniably have a realistic chance of contending for the NBA championship title in the 2019-20 NBA season. However, before reaching the NBA Finals, the Jazz will first need to go through the tough competition in the deep Western Conference. Though the Golden State Warriors have weakened with the departure of Kevin Durant, other teams in the Western Conference have gone incredible strong this summer, including the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers.