NBA rumors: Mike Conley staying in Memphis

Marc Stein: Memphis and Mike Conley have agreed in principle on a five-year, $153 million deal, league sources say. Finer points “nearing conclusion.”

More on Mike Conley Free Agency

Tim MacMahon: The Grizzlies will give point guard Mike Conley a full five-year max offer, a source told ESPN. Memphis can pay Conley $153 million over five years, while the Mavs and other teams can offer $114 million over four years.
Jeff Goodman: Memphis has added Chandler Parsons. Should help keep Mike Conley. Grizzlies could be a factor next season.
Tim MacMahon: League sources say Mike Conley and Chandler Parsons have had multiple conversations about playing together in Memphis. They never talked about teaming up in Dallas. Parsons, who has ruled out a return to Dallas, will meet with the Grizzlies on Friday in Los Angeles. Conley is scheduled to meet with the Mavs in Dallas.
David Aldridge: As free agency kicks off, & despite Mavs interest, Grizzlies are very confident they will retain top FA Mike Conley, per league sources.
It appears the Orlando Magic will not pursue Mike Conley in free agency. Conley’s camp has not received any indication from the Magic that they want to meet with him in the days ahead, according to a source familiar with Conley’s situation.
Marc Stein: Maybe the biggest Spurs development tonight: One well-placed source insists San Antonio's free-agent interest in Mike Conley is overstated.
The belief around the Grizzlies is that Mike will re-sign on the maximum offer they’ll present him on July 1. However, sources close to Conley say that getting his signature will require the team to be aggressive in adding talent to the roster. It’s one of the key reasons the Grizzlies passed on their team option on Lance Stephenson.
The Memphis Grizzlies are declining guard Lance Stephenson's $9.4 million team option for next season, league sources told The Vertical. The Grizzlies declined the option in order to keep as much cap space as possible, sources said, as they hope to retain point guard Mike Conley, who is an unrestricted free agent after nine seasons with the Grizzlies.
There are those who wonder whether it makes sense to pay Conley north of $130 million for five years. I understand that, I really do. But the market has changed in the NBA. Nearly every contract -- with the exception of those given to Kevin Durant and LeBron James -- will look slightly crazy this year. Beyond that, the Grizzlies don't have any great alternative. They have no history of attracting high-profile free agents. It's not like they're going to be giving the money to somebody else. So they will pay Conley whatever they have to pay him, and try to fill in around him with the rest of their cap room.
The Mavs, according to sources, remain interested in keeping Parsons if they aren't able to persuade Conley and/or Whiteside to come to Dallas. However, the Mavs have made it clear to Parsons that they do not intend to offer him a max contract to keep him after his first two seasons in Dallas ended prematurely because of surgeries on his right knee. A max contract for Parsons with the Mavs, who own his early Bird rights, would be worth $98.4 million over four years. Other teams can offer him $94.1 million over four years.
Memphis Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley is the other top target for the Mavs, according to sources, as Dallas attempts to construct a core that will allow the franchise to be competitive during Dirk Nowitzki's twilight and beyond.
Tim MacMahon: For Memphis to keep Mike Conley, the Grizzlies would have to commit to a five-year contract for the top point guard available in the free agency market, sources told ESPN.com. The fifth year, which only the Grizzlies can offer Conley, would be worth more than $33 million on a max contract.
Tim MacMahon: A source said the Spurs and Mavericks are among the other teams that would interest Conley, who intends to explore his options in free agency. The Spurs would have to answer questions about how Conley would fit with Tony Parker, according to the source, who said that Conley has great respect for Dallas coach Rick Carlisle.
Ian Begley: Here's a bit of potentially good news for those Knicks fans interested in free agent Mike Conley: some members of the Grizzlies front office are growing a bit concerned about the possibility of Conley leaving in free agency, per a source with knowledge of the situation.
Ian Begley: Memphis, which plans on using a video featuring Grizzlies part-owner Justin Timberlake as part of its recruiting pitch, per a source, can offer Conley a five-year deal worth approximately $124 million. Other clubs can ink Conley to a max contract for four years worth approximately $92 million. Both Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek and GM Steve Mills has mentioned point guard as a position of emphasis for New York this offseason.
The narrative all season around Conley was that he was staying in Memphis. However, sources close to Conley’s camp said recently that Conley is more open to new situations than anyone in Memphis would be comfortable with. The narrative from those sources is that Conley is concerned that the Grizzlies cannot add enough to the roster to get them seriously into championship status and if that does not happen, he’s not willing to tie his career to Memphis in the long-term.
The dark horse in the Conley race is the Spurs. More than a few league insiders have pegged the Spurs as having more than a passing interest in Conley as a free agent and, much like with Durant, they are prepared to break apart some of their core to lock in another high level player.
Keenan Mumma: @stevekylerNBA not saying it's going to happen, but could the Lakers financially get Barnes, Conley, and P.Gasol? Ranking in the West? Steve Kyler: Depends on what Gasol wants in a contract, but I can tell you neither is looking for a reunion.
David Aldridge: Memphis has not traditionally been a destination for free agents. I read where you didn't really like recruiting when you were an assistant in college. How do you reconcile those two issues now that you're one of the key faces of the Grizz franchise? David Fizdale: Ask Mike Conley if he's being recruited. I didn't say I wasn't good at it. There's a difference. The hard part that I didn't like about recruiting in college was, there was so many regulations. So many rules. It was so many layers to it in the recruiting that I just got fed up with it. I was like, here I am kissing some 17-year-old's butt, he's my fourth option, but I have to keep him on the line because I'm at some small mid-major, or a mid-major. I'm just waiting to see who takes my other guys. I just got to the point ... after about five years, I said I want to coach the best of the best. It finally hit me. I want to coach the best talent and see what could come of that, what that would feel like. And I was lucky. I landed in Miami with the best. I don't know how that worked out, but I knew that's what I wanted to do, and it worked out.
Brian Geltzeiler: Not for nothing but with Hornacek's comments about NY's point guard situation, it didn't sound like he was counting on Wroten at all. Smart. - Rob: 2 ACL surgeries... I think they are gonna push for MikeConley... Can see Mike Conley and Kristaps Porzingis in same scenarios that made Goran Dragic/Channing Frye work. - Brian Geltzeiler: Was told by Rob Fischer (@thefishnation) yesterday that Mike Conley is north of 90% to stay in Memphis...
David Fizdale on his confidence that Conley will re-sign, and whether they’ve talked: “I’ve spoken to Mike Conley. We had a fantastic conversation, a very energized, open conversation and an honest conversation. He’s going to get sick of me, because I’m going to follow him. I’m going to just follow him everywhere he goes. I’m going to hound him and teach him and collaborate with him and make him feel a part of this thing in a way that only a guy like D-Wade can feel, in Miami. That’s my approach with him. I see him being a big part of this thing for a long time.”
It could be weeks before the Spurs know whether Duncan and Ginobili will return for a 20th and 15th season, respectively. It’s also uncertain what the Spurs will do in free agency. They’ve been linked to Durant and Memphis Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley, but salary-cap space would have to be cleared for the Spurs to be major players again in free agency, meaning some core players would have to be traded. No matter what happens, Parker suggests that, in the end, how far the Spurs advance in any season is entirely up to the “basketball gods.” “Look at Oklahoma City,” Parker said. “Last year, they had all the injuries and bad luck, but this year the basketball gods went their way. Every tough play, every big basket, they made it.
Mike Conley has come up and would be a considerable upgrade over the declining Tony Parker, but to ink him would require clearing out some salary cap space, and then convincing Conley to leave Memphis (not that easy, he likes it there). Expect Al Horford and every major free agent not named Dwight Howard to be linked to the Spurs. Nicolas Batum would be a great fit, but the buzz is he likely stays put in Charlotte.
NBA sources said the only free-agent point guard who would be a difference-maker is Mike Conley. He led the NBA in assist-to-turnover ratio and will be the top priority for several teams, including the Knicks and his own Grizzlies. Memphis can offer Conley more than $100 million, and GM Chris Wallace guaranteed they would re-sign him. But Conley’s odds of bolting Memphis could be increased by the Saturday firing of Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger and reports of Wallace’s potential departure.
Dave Joerger is in a tough spot in Memphis with an aging roster that broke down this season and is on its way to being further depleted with the expected free-agent departure of point guard Mike Conley. There's the potential for a breakup there, sources say.
Barring a miraculous recovery by the time the postseason begins, Conley still walks with a limp, experiences soreness in the Achilles and requires a walking boot. The franchise and Conley, who will be a free agent this summer, are taking a cautious approach to his long-term future.
Any thought to the Heat trading Goran Dragic this summer and bidding for free agent Mike Conley has been cast aside because of Dragic’s recent play. “We love Goran,” Pat Riley said last week. “Now he's playing like The Dragon. His game has opened up. I'm very happy that we have this point guard.”
After the Heat, without Wade, scored 115 points against Atlanta in its first game after the All-Star break, Wade got up and gave a “speech” to teammates the next day, Dragic said. The message? According to Dragic, Wade "said: 'We want to play like last game. Play your game. I am going to adapt, don't worry about that.’” Dragic’s play has made it far less likely that Miami would trade him this summer and try to sign Mike Conley. If Miami continues playing this well without Bosh, the question is inevitable: Shouldn’t having Bosh make this team substantially better than it was in the first half of the season?
Penny Hardaway on Mike Conley's future in Memphis: "It's not really about the money, it's about 'This is his team.' The franchise has definitely told him 'Hey, we're behind you, we'd trade everyone else...' They even traded Kyle Lowry, and Kyle Lowry is playing great. He's an All-Star now. They traded everybody to keep Mike happy. They letting Mike know 'This is your team, and we want you to be the future'. Mike probably will stay with them."
Now Gasol, who is 31, is likely out for the remainder of the regular season with his fractured foot and, most importantly, Conley – the youngest of the group at 28 – will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, leaving Memphis with an impossible choice to make: offer him a five-year contract worth significantly more than $100 million, a contract that will undoubtedly look rough three or four years from now, or let one of the faces of the franchise walk in free agency.
Will Mike Conley find his way to the Big Apple this summer? The New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets may seemingly be in disarray now, but don't count out the possibility that one of the two teams lands him in free agency. A source close to Conley believes the Memphis Grizzlies point guard will be more receptive to playing for the Knicks and Nets than most think.
"I want to win," Conley replied when asked what's most important to him going into free agency. "That's what I want to do at the end of the day, wherever that may be. So hopefully when that time comes I'll have a better vision on what I want and what I want going forward in the summer, but right now I'm all about winning, and I want to be somewhere that's committed to doing that."
Mike Mazzeo: Impending free agent Grizzlies PG Mike Conley on the Nets firing his former coach Lionel Hollins and it potentially impacting his decision to possibly sign with Brooklyn over the summer: "It's tough but at the same time like I said I'll give everybody their fair shot. Lionel being here obviously was a big reason to look (at Brooklyn) but still at the same time with him gone I'll give everybody the same look." The Nets have an obvious need at PG and could go into free agency with around $40 million in cap space.
With or without Gasol, Memphis’ mandate will be unchanged: make the playoffs. They are working to keep Conley in summer free agency, with Memphis planning to be one more contender with two stars that will try to persuade Kevin Durant to make it a Big Three, league sources said. Durant’s the longest of long shots in summer, but the short-term trade deadline directives are unchanged: The Grizzlies are determined to use the trade deadline to better the roster for a playoff push.
Former Knick Zach Randolph playfully chided the New York media for making a beeline to Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley Jr. after Friday morning’s shootaround at the Garden. “Mike Conley’s not coming here, man,” Randolph said.
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