As is the case with Paul, front-office sources widely believe Mike Conley will stay put in Utah. And if that’s the case, as so many expect, then the Jazz have ample reason to celebrate.
Marc Stein: The Jazz will be pressing hard to re-sign Mike Conley, league sources say, and are preparing an offer estimated in the three-year, $75 million range. More coming soon in my This Week In Basketball column you can get directly by signing up here: marcstein.substack.com
For Utah, the challenge is making a move for the roster that, in conjunction with the upcoming free agency, vaults the team squarely into title contention. And that probably won’t be easy with the assets the Jazz have. League sources tell The Athletic that All-Star point guard Mike Conley is likely to stay with the Jazz once free agency opens, but the price tag won’t be a cheap one. If that indeed comes to fruition, the Jazz will have to figure out how to fill the roster out and make improvements.
Namely, these conversations have so far revolved around Kyle Lowry, Mike Conley and Paul himself if he opts out of his contract with the Suns. According to sources, the Mavericks, looking to ease the burden on Luka Doncic, have shown interest in both Conley and Lowry, the latter of whom stands to have his pick of money and championship contender -- and potentially both.
League executives believe Conley is most likely to stay in Utah, with the Jazz investigating the possibility of reducing payroll to make room next to Donovan Mitchell's new max contract coming onto the books. The Jazz have the 30th pick and could use that as incentive to offload salary if needed.
The Mavericks are also considered to be a possible landing spot for Jazz guard Mike Conley, although there's a strong belief around the league that Utah will be successful in its attempts to shed salary and offer Conley a substantial deal.
The Utah Jazz are known to be one of the few teams actually searching to move playoff-tested talent. Retaining Mike Conley is an offseason priority, sources said, and the Jazz have held numerous discussions with teams around the league about offloading salary to create room for Conley in free agency.
“It’s a very average free-agent group for unrestricted free agents,” said one Western Conference executive. “For example, there is no KD or a Giannis. The best guys are DeRozan, Lowly and Conley. But if some guys opt out of their contracts and become unrestricted free agents, then that changes things.”
But from a Jazz point of view, there’s not much to debate. Sources tell The Athletic that Utah wants Conley back and will make every attempt to keep the All-Star in a Jazz uniform once free agency opens.
John Hollinger: The team to watch with Conley is Dallas, though. I mean, they were the team that was after him when he was a free agent last time and he re-signed with (Memphis). Yeah, I would definitely keep an eye on Dallas.
Andy Larsen: Joe Ingles on Mike Conley's free agency: "My daughter will be upset if Myles (Conley's son) isn't in her class"
On Saturday afternoon, Conley addressed his pending free agency during the Jazz’s customary exit interviews the day after the season. “Obviously you know how I feel about our team and the city and the fans,” he said. “It’s been just a wonderful two years. Definitely an up and down two years but wonderful regardless of how it ended last night. “Free agency is free agency...it’s something that I have to sit back and consider with my family and when that time comes, make the decision that’s best for us, myself. Like I said, obviously I’ve had a great time here, great, great experiences, coaches — Coach Quin and the players, Don and Rudy and everybody, so we’ll just have to see what happens.”
Conley would certainly command less than the approximately $34 million he made this season but could still be in line for a big pay day despite his age given that he was named an All-Star this season for the first time in his career. “Obviously I can’t speak, look into the future what exactly will happen,” he said. “It’s actually like my first time being a real free agent, so it’ll be interesting, but I did love it here and we’ll see what happens.”
In an interview with The Athletic, Conley made it clear that he would like to stay with the Jazz beyond this season. And on a day where he could finally become an All-Star for the first time in a long and successful career, Conley’s words encapsulate how much he and the Jazz organization have taken to each other. “Utah’s got me,” Conley said. “I was talking about this to my wife recently. We love it here. I don’t think I can go anywhere else that plays the way we play. We’ll see this offseason, because when that time comes there will definitely be a lot of chatter. “But, from where I sit right now, this team is so unique, in the way we play. And everyone has bought into what we want to do on both ends of the floor.”
Bobby Marks: Utah has positioned their finances that even with a combined $65M+ owed to Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert in 2021-22, they are still projected to be under the luxury tax. 9 players on guaranteed contracts but a big ? mark at starting PG with the pending FA of Mike Conley.
Bobby Marks: Monday deadline for player options Anthony Davis: $28.8M DeMar DeRozan: $27.7M Mike Conley Jr. : $34.5M Evan Fournier: $17.0M Robin Lopez : $5.0M Nic Batum: $27.1M Tony Snell: $12.2M Stanley Johnson: $3.8M Wesley Matthews : $2.7M My guess is we go 7/9 on opt-in
Shams Charania: New player option dates for 2020 NBA free agency: Anthony Davis: Oct. 14 Gordon Hayward: Oct. 17 DeMar DeRozan: Oct. 17 Mike Conley Jr.: Oct. 17 Andre Drummond: Oct. 17
Ronald Tillery: Mike Conley, five years, $153 million. 'I'll continue to be there for this community... to help make change.' https://t.co/BOyEUiUnhx
Memphis Grizzlies General Manager Chris Wallace today announced that the Grizzlies re-signed guard Mike Conley to a multi-year contract. Per team policy, terms of the deal are not disclosed.
Our guys signing long-term deals will tell you everything you need to know: Marc signed a deal to stay in Memphis because he knew we had work to get done. Tony and Zach are staying, too. They’re here for the long-term. It says a lot about our chemistry. Teams like this aren’t built overnight. That’s why I’m coming back to Memphis. Not just for a year or two. I signed a five-year deal because we’ve just barely scratched the surface on the things we’re planning to accomplish. I guess Damon Stoudamire had been right all along. Nothing is given to you in this league. You’re going to have to fight for it.
Damian Lillard: Be happy for a brother and never count another mans bread... #hello ... Congrats. - RT: 27-52ATL: Ok @mconley11 you good but no way you should be making more than @Dame_Lillard
Tim MacMahon: Grizzlies owner after giving out almost $250M in deals today ... RT: Robert Pera: pic.twitter.com/nJVwA5Z9Qw
Mike Conley and the Memphis Grizzlies have agreed in principle on a five-year, $153 million deal, according to league sources. This would be the richest contract by total value in NBA history, according to ESPN Stats & Information. It also would be the first deal worth $100 million or more total with an average annual value of more than $30 million per year.
Marc Stein: Memphis and Mike Conley have agreed in principle on a five-year, $153 million deal, league sources say. Finer points "nearing conclusion."
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.
Sam Amick: Memphis is still in very good position with Mike Conley, I'm told, but he is still planning on meeting with Dallas Fri. (likely in Memphis).
Marc Stein: You can scratch "might." Sources say Memphis is a confirmed suitor for Chandler Parsons in addition to its top priority: Keeping Mike Conley
Marc Stein: Free Agent Rumble: Memphis not only believes it'll keep Mike Conley but might try to sign Chandler Parsons away from the Conley-chasing Mavs
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.
Chris Broussard: Mike Conley will meet with the Dallas Mavericks on July 1, according to league sources.
Chris Broussard: Whether or not Conley re-signs with Memphis could hinge largely on the Grizzlies' willingness to give him a 5-year contract, says a source
Chris Broussard: Houston, New Orleans, Brooklyn and Los Angeles Lakers also interested in Conley, sources say
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.
Marc Stein on Mike Conley's free agency suitors: You hear that San Antonio is interested if they don't get Durant. We've been hearing that the Spurs would be a Conley suitor for a long time. (...) The Mavs think they have a chance.
Marc Stein on Mike Conley's free agency suitors: Houston is another team that needs a point guard and I know they have Mike Conley interest, I don't know their chances. I know Houston is poking around on Conley.
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.
Tim Cato: on @1033fmESPN, @Tim MacMahon said a source told him that Mike Conley has serious worries about going to the Spurs because of Tony Parker
Adrian Wojnarowski: The Memphis Grizzlies released a deft little video to appeal to free agent Mike Conley. Recruiting is well underway. on.nba.com/2959bxr
Ellis J: Any idea where Mike Conley will end up? I heard Miami is the front runner. - Steve Kyler: I have not heard anything close to that. Was told he's taking meetings and Grizz will have final shot.
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.
Whiteside and Conley are both expected to command maximum contracts, prices that sources say the Mavs are prepared to pay if their recruiting bids are successful a year after All-NBA center DeAndre Jordan backed out of his verbal commitment to Dallas.
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.
Tim MacMahon: Source: Mike Conley's respect for Rick Carlisle gives Mavs a shot at top PG in free agency.
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.
Marc Gasol on Mike Conley's free agency: "In these situations, one isn't very objective. You can't ask a teammate -- and in this case, a friend -- to follow. To me, that wouldn't be fair. So you look at it another way: you wish him the best, especially good health, whether or not he signs. He'll make the decision that he makes. I will always be there, that's the way it is. We've lived through so much together that our relationship is about much more than basketball. I met him when he was 19 or 20 and now he's going to be a father in July. That's beautiful.
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.
Brian Geltzeiler: Also hearing that the Grizzlies are going offer Conley whatever necessary to insure that they retain him.
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.
Conley added Memphis center Marc Gasol’s decision last summer to re-sign was “different’’ than his because Memphis had gone deeper last season, losing a tough series to eventual champion Golden State. “This summer will be a fun one for me,” Conley said. “Free agency is new for me. We’ll see how it goes.”
Ronald Tillery: Mike Conley says he's talked to Griz owner Robert Pera "a few times this season. He text me a few days ago." https://t.co/GuEzX0D916
August 18, 2022 | 2:54 am EDT Update
The Lakers remain active in trade talks and would part with their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks in the right deal, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said in an appearance on Sports Center (video link). Those picks “have a lot of value in the marketplace” if they’re unprotected, Wojnarowski states. He adds that L.A. would be willing to give them up in a trade for Kyrie Irving, but the Nets haven’t been interested.
Those around the team were confident that James signing an extension was likely, considering how much he’s enjoyed playing for the Lakers and living in Los Angeles. The primary complication in James’ decision was that he has been privately adamant that the Lakers still need to improve the current roster and trade for superstar point guard Kyrie Irving, league sources have told The Athletic.
The Lakers have explored runs at Nets point guard Kyrie Irving ($36.9 million expiring contract), but it’s unclear if Brooklyn would want to include Joe Harris’ $19.9 million salary for 2023-24 as well. The Pacers have Buddy Hield, a former client of Lakers executive Rob Pelinka, at $18.6-23.3 million for next season (depending on incentives). Los Angeles has also explored a deal for Pacers center Myles Turner with the expectation that he would extend or re-sign beyond his current $17.5-20 million salary for 2022-23.
Per several sources connected to teams like the Brooklyn Nets, Indiana Pacers and San Antonio Spurs, the Lakers have not been willing to part with significant draft capital to get off Westbrook’s contract. But that may have been tied to uncertainty surrounding James’ future, which is now put to rest.
The sense from those sources: Westbrook will have a new home when the Lakers green-light trades that include both their 2027 and 2029 first-rounders. What’s still unclear is whether L.A. will be willing to do so.
Rob Pelinka has been “very active” in attempting to add more shooting and size to the Los Angeles Lakers roster, according to Adrian Wojnarowski on ESPN. “Rob Pelinka has still been very active, even in the dog days of August. He’s been on the phone a lot, he’s still trying to find deals to bring in more shooting, perhaps some size. And so I think those conversations continue all the way into training camp,” said Wojnarowski on NBA Today.
Among the executives with whom I spoke, a Boston deal with Jaylen Brown as the centerpiece appears to be the unofficial front-runner here. In general terms, sources say the Nets are using the fact that the Celtics (and perhaps other teams) have made their second-best player available as a baseline of sorts in negotiations. Translation: If you’re still trying to discuss a Durant deal without putting your second-best talent on the table, then just stop wasting everyone’s time and bow out of this race.