As NBA rumors are heating up prior to the Draft, the Memphis Grizzlies are looking to deal Mike Conley sooner rather than later. Will he land with the Utah Jazz?
With the 2019 NBA Draft being just over 48 hours way, NBA rumors are ramping up as teams look to organize themselves before free agency discussions begin. This is a time where teams can completely change their framework, whether it is by way of dumping salary or gaining that key piece to take their club to the next level. The Memphis Grizzlies and Mike Conley are a prime opportunity for some teams to take advantage.
Following this past weekend’s rumored deal awaiting completion which will send Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers, other dominoes will start to fall as a result. Teams such as the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics must figure other ways to improve their rosters since Davis is off the table. For the Grizzlies and their veteran point guard Conley, this should only enhance trade offers that will be coming their way over the next few days, or even weeks.
Yes, a Conley trade could take place this week, or it may be several weeks from now. There is not a lot of in-between scenarios that could take place. Plus, as the Grizzlies seek first-round compensation, there is incentive for them to do a deal ahead of Thursday’s Draft. If that were to happen, they could have some say in who is selected with their newly-acquired picks (again, hypothetically speaking).
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Plus, there is more incentive for the Grizzlies to do a deal sooner rather than later. With NBA Free Agency beginning on the evening of June 30th, it would be more beneficial for their own sake to know where they stood with the most expensive contract on their current roster. It could potentially make a difference in the type of player(s) Memphis could seek once the free agency doors open. That will ultimately affect the team’s competitiveness in the 2019-20 season.
Three teams — the Utah Jazz, Indiana Pacers, and Boston Celtics — happen to be pushing the most for the Grizzlies’ Conley. All three teams need dependable veteran scoring at the guard position, but each has their own approach to making a deal. Utah has the potential to make a deal right away with veteran players plus a pick, Indiana does not have the necessary excess salary to ship off without tearing apart their core, and Boston is still in flux over Kyrie Irving‘s personal free agency decision.
On Monday, it appears as if one of the three teams is pulling ahead as they prepare to round the final turn with an NBA Draft finish line ahead of them. According to The Athletic‘s Shams Charania, the Jazz are “the frontrunner” for Conley, especially since they would have the ability to agree to a deal prior to Thursday’s main event.
In any deal for Conley regardless of the receiving team, salary match is a major holdup. With Conley set to receive $32.5 million next season, it will take a lot in order to make a trade feasible. Plus, these top-three most likely teams to get Conley are knocking upon contender status and really do not want to shed any key components to their current rosters.
If Utah is truly in the lead to receive Conley, this is the most likely trade scenario. For salary-match purposes, the Grizzlies would have to receive Derrick Favors, who happens to have a team option on next season’s contract for $16.9 million. That will be an easy decision for the Jazz, assuming they go all-in for Conley. Plus, Utah can finally shed the contract of Dante Exum, who will be owed $10.6 million. To sweeten the deal for Memphis, the Grizzlies will enable themselves to receive the 23rd overall pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft.
This trade scenario will provide the Grizzlies with a second first-round pick on Thursday. This would place them at No. 2 and No. 23 overall. Though this NBA Draft has received the label as being thin with All-Star potential, it is largely due to a plethora of raw talent. Under the right player development circumstances, some of these first-rounders could still blossom into NBA stars.
Memphis’ impending rebuild gained a lot of momentum once they landed the No. 2 pick on May 14th, but this trade scenario with the Jazz would help propel them even further. While the roster would undergo the rebuild process, their season record likely would not. If anything, it would not be a total shock to see the Grizzlies compete for a playoff spot if this particular trade scenario would gain league approval.
Unless the Grizzlies could receive multiple first-round picks in a trade offer for Conley, this particular scenario should gain Grizz Nation’s approval. Favors would provide additional frontcourt support as a starter or a reserve. Plus, Exum has some untapped potential, assuming he can remain healthy for a full season. He could help bolster the bench in the backcourt. On top of it all, Memphis could select a wing for the future with Utah’s 23rd pick. This solid scenario could force another team — such as Boston — to enhance their trade offer if push comes to shove.