HoopsHype Mike Conley rumors

April 19, 2011 Updates

Having already signed forward Rudy Gay to a five-year, $85 million deal last summer and point guard Mike Conley to a five-year, $45-million contract extension at the start of the season, getting Gasol on board for the future will enable the Grizzlies – who won for the first time in the postseason in franchise history in Game 1 – to take the next step in their development, according to Randolph. “The number one thing is to try to win a championship,” he said. “I feel like we’ve got a good enough core with me, Rudy, Marc and Mike to build around us and do something special. “I think it’s realistic. You’ve seen where we came from to now, where we’re at. This league is so up and down you can compete with anybody and anybody can get beat any given night.” NBA.com

April 15, 2011 Updates
February 8, 2011 Updates

Mike Conley hears the criticism. He knows that there are some who believe the Grizzlies made a mistake by signing him to his last contract. He hears people believe he is not worth the money. He hears comments that the Grizzlies maybe would be better off trading him. He also doesn't care. "I try my best to stay away from it and not read it," Conley told HOOPSWORLD, "but it still gets brought to my attention from different people. Eventually you find out what people are saying. It just motivates me more to stay in the gym and get better because I can't control what's going on off the court like what people say. What I can control is what I do on the court." HoopsWorld

"This league is based on criticism, but everybody in the league has something that they are good at, whether that's scoring the basketball, rebounding or playing defense," said Randolph. "Mike is one of those players who is putting everything together right now. His shooting is better, he's playing good defense, he's fast and he gets other guys open shots. He's just a great player." HoopsWorld

"Man, that kid is a hard worker, first of all," Zach Randolph told HOOPSWORLD. "He works on his game every summer and gets better. He worked on his shot and it improved. He's working and wants to get better. He takes a lot of pressure off of me. He's knocking down shots, he's penetrating, getting to the hole and finding us big fellas for drop-offs. Anytime you have a point guard like Mike, who can knock down shots from the outside, it loosens up on the inside for us to work down there." HoopsWorld

December 22, 2010 Updates

Does the big contract you just signed make you feel any added pressure? Mike Conley: I don’t feel any pressure at all. I think actually signing took a lot of pressure off. More than anything, this allows me to play basketball, concentrate on basketball and not worry about anything else. I’m just thankful I’m coming back to Memphis for five more years. You know the Grizzlies got some criticism for giving you that deal. Does that bother you? Mike Conley: It’s tough to take any kind of criticism. A lot of players take criticism, a lot of teams take criticism… That’s just part of business. They believed in me and they made a decision. They were happy with me and I’m happy with them. It’s just a matter of time. Hopefully one day the media will look back on it and not be so harsh about it. HoopsHype

Do you have any point guard, from the past or currently in the NBA, that you see as a model for you? Mike Conley: I do. I would say Tony Parker is a guy I always looked up to and modeled my game after his. He’s one of those guys that’s very aggressive with the ball and finishing in transition, creating for other guys and doing everything fast. He uses his speed very well and those are the traits I want to bring in the NBA. HoopsHype

December 20, 2010 Updates

Will Randolph, still in his prime, do a LeBron on the Grizzlies, who already gave generous contract extensions to Rudy Gay and Mike Conley and might not be able to afford him? "Well, it's a business, so I really can't say what will happen," he said. "But I will say that I'd like to finish my career in Memphis. I've never felt this embraced by a team and community. I love this city." NBA.com

December 11, 2010 Updates
November 16, 2010 Updates

They may have come into the season thinking they were good enough to challenge the better teams in the Western Conference, but it sure hasn't looked like it so far, hitting bottom with an 89-72 loss in Orlando in which they never led and hardly challenged. "It's never too early to have a team meeting,'' said point guard Mike Conley. "The issues that we have as a team, being held accountable individually, we have to accept as a team.'' FanHouse.com

November 6, 2010 Updates

Conley, 23, thinks his strong performance from the start of training camp through the first week of the season spurred the Grizzlies to resume contract talks before Monday’s deadline. He’s averaged 15.8 points, 9.2 assists, 5.8 rebounds and 3.4 steals in the Grizzlies’ first five games. “If that’s how they feel, that’s their opinion,” Conley said of his critics. “I can’t do anything about that. What’s done is done. All I can do is control what happens on the court. “I like the motivation I get from people criticizing me and putting me down. I will prove my worth to them. I am being paid what I am supposed to based on production.” Yahoo! Sports

November 5, 2010 Updates

NBA front-office sources say that the five-year, $40 million deal Mike Conley received -- still stunning every time you see the numbers even after a few days for the contract to sink in -- includes $1 million in deferred salary in each of those five seasons. Which can't/won't change the opinion held here (and countless other outposts on the NBA map) that an extension for Conley is lunacy when A) we don't know how restrictive the next collective bargaining agreement will be for an owner (Michael Heisley) who always says his franchise needs more revenue-sharing help from big-market franchises and B) securing big man Marc Gasol or (dare we say it) last season's team MVP Zach Randolph for the long term was already complicated. ... We repeat: $8 million annually for Mike Conley in this climate is too much. ESPN.com

November 3, 2010 Updates

Conley will receive what is perceived to be market value on the front end of his contract. He'll earn roughly $6.5 million next season. With 10.5-percent raises, Conley's deal will pay him more than $9.6 million in the final year of the deal. There are also performance and team-oriented incentives that allow Conley to earn more. Conley must reach certain statistical goals and the Griz have to be a 50-plus win team that is successful in the playoffs for him to receive an additional $5 million. "He's done a lot to earn it," Griz coach Lionel Hollins said. "He's gotten better every year I've been here. He's stronger, more confident and more aggressive. ... I don't think it's a risk. It's a good thing. He's a solid, stable point guard." Memphis Commercial Appeal

November 2, 2010 Updates

Even though the Grizzlies have been 28th or worse four straight seasons in attendance, Heisley rarely has felt as good about a Memphis outfit as this one. He believes the Grizzlies, who went a surprising 40-42 last season and are 2-1 this season, have a team that will bring more fans into the 18,119 FedExForum than the average of 13,485 that showed up in 2009-10. "I got all five of my guys back,'' Heisley said of starters Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph, Rudy Gay, O.J. Mayo and Mike Conley. "I got a much stronger second team. I made a commitment to the people of Memphis that I think we've got a good chance of getting in the playoffs. That's our goal this year. And I've said this is one of, if not the best team, we've had since I've been in Memphis. ... I think it's our job to make our franchise and our basketball team attractive to the fans, not the fans' responsibility to come to the game to keep the team there. FanHouse.com

Heisley didn't want to speak about Conley's contract, saying, "I'm not going to justify or listen to criticisms and so on of what we did. It's a negotiation and we made the negotiation and it is what it is.'' However, Heisley was willing to speak about the improvement the fourth-year point guard has made on the court. "If you go back and look at Mike Conley the last month of last year, he really came alive,'' Heisley said. "When we drafted him, he was a very, very good defensive point guard in the league putting pressure on the guy with the ball. And I think he's been much more cautious. I think he's finally coming into his own. I think we now have the player we drafted. I would have liked to have had him two years ago, but we didn't. FanHouse.com

Some key points about the deal: 1. The contract kicks in for the 2011-12 season, starting at roughly $6.5 million. With the maximum 10.5-percent raises allowed, the increases will look something like $7.18 (year 2), $7.9 (year 3), $8.76 (year 4) and $9.68 (year 5). There is no doubt (even with a new CBA) that Conley would have received an offer starting at least $6 million. 2. The only way Conley can exceed $40 million (i.e. the $45 million that national media was given by Conley's agent) is for him to produce what was described to me as "elite level PG statistics" AND the Griz must be winning 50-plus regular-season games AND having success in the playoffs. That means the bonus package is tied to individual and team greatness. 3. Another win/win is that there is deferred money in the deal. That'll help the Grizzlies' cash flow when their payroll is enormous. Zach Randolph came to Memphis with deferred money, which made it a little easier to absorb his contract. Memphis Commercial Appeal

Conley will receive his market value on the front end. And the Grizzlies got a little creative with this early signing realizing they'll have important business with Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph and O.J. Mayo. I do think someone will be sacrificed in the long run. Unless the NBA's new collective bargaining agreement reduces length of guaranteed contracts /player salaries and includes better revenue sharing, then I tend to believe Mayo will be the odd man out because of sheer timing for his payday. Memphis Commercial Appeal

The Memphis Grizzlies signed point guard Mike Conley to a contract extension late Monday night, according to his agent and father, Mike Conley Sr. Conley Sr., who along with Bill Duffy represents his son, would not specify the terms of the contract. But other sources with knowledge of the situation said the deal is worth $45 million over five years. The Grizzlies' decision to lock up Conley as their point guard of the future was sparked by his excellent play in the preseason and over the regular season's first three games. Conley, the fourth pick of the 2007 draft, has averaged 15 points, 8.3 assists and a league-high 3.67 steals in leading Memphis to a 2-1 start. "Did I envision that Mike would play like this? Yes," Conley Sr. said in a telephone interview on Monday. "But I did not have confidence that the Grizzlies would embrace him like they have with this contract. The first thing I told them when we began negotiating was that I didn't want to go further with these discussions unless Mike was their guy. They said he's their guy." ESPN.com

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