NBA rumors: Cavaliers interested in Mike Conley

Chris Fedor: There’s another name, too, since they need a reliable backup point guard that can start, and I’ve heard this name with the Cavaliers as well. My sources tell me JB Bickerstaff would love to coach him again, Mike Conley. If Utah decides to move him in an effort to put the right pieces around Donovan Mitchell and shake up that roster. Conley for somebody like Caris LeVert is something I think the Cavs would consider.

More on Mike Conley Trade

Eric Woodyard: Donovan Mitchell to @usatodaysports on Mike Conley trade: “He's a great player. He’s very underrated in my opinion. He does a lot of getting into the lane and being able to find guys and also I can learn a lot from him so as far as being a point guard.”
The Grizzlies took a slight risk in waiting until now to deal Conley instead of acting at the trade deadline, but it ended up costing them nothing beyond the chance to clear more 2019-20 salary. They might have come out better for it. They always wanted two first-round picks, and they got them. The Detroit Pistons opted against paying that price, sources say, and even had the Pistons agreed, Memphis might have been stuck with Reggie Jackson. The Pacers would not surrender two first-round picks and Aaron Holiday, sources say.
Mike Conley: What more can I say about my city! You guys made me the man I am today! Memphis is home. Always! 🙌🏾🙌🏾..Time for another chapter! Excited to give all I have to The Jazz and the city of Utah! #LetsGetIt #GodsPlan #takenote 💪🏾
David Aldridge: Memphis, per sources, will listen to offers on the first-rounder (23rd) acquired in the Conley deal. And, protections on the future first from Utah: -Pick will convey to Memphis is 2020 or 2021 if it falls between 8-14 -if it doesn’t, protected 1-6 in ‘22,, 1-3 in ‘23, 1 in ‘24.
David Cobb: Source confirms that the Utah Jazz will *technically* still make the No. 23 selection tomorrow night. But the pick will transfer to the Grizzlies after the trade is complete.
Numerous rival teams firmly believe that the Memphis Grizzlies will be trading veteran point guard Mike Conley sooner rather than later — with Utah still thought to be at the front of the line like it was at the February trade deadline. According to one trade scenario circulating Monday night, Memphis could receive a package from Utah headlined by the No. 23 pick in Thursday’s draft as well as a future first-rounder from the Jazz.
The Grizzlies are intensifying talks to potentially move franchise cornerstone Mike Conley Jr., league sources told The Athletic. Memphis has been in conversations with the Jazz and Utah is a frontrunner to acquire Conley should the Grizzlies trade the point guard during draft week, league sources said.
The Grizzlies are widely expected to use the No. 2 pick on Murray State’s Ja Morant and trade the ever-reliable Mike Conley in their last big move to fully leave the Grit ‘n Grind era behind for players who would fit well alongside the two young cornerstones.
The Pacers have also been rumored to be a team interested in Conley, but a source noted that the Pacers want to bring back some combination of their free-agent players and that Conley's contract would be too weighty on the payroll.
League sources told Sporting News this week that one team to watch in the Conley hunt is Miami, which is waiting on Goran Dragic's decision on his $19 million player option for next year. Heat president Pat Riley has long coveted Conley - Miami was interested in signing Conley before he re-signed with Memphis three years ago - and still wants to bring him to South Florida.
At no. 2, the franchise will have its choice of some talented prospects, namely Murray State point guard Ja Morant, a playmaking savant with rocket-boosters for shoes, or Duke forward R.J. Barrett, a tough shotmaker with the potential to emerge as a versatile defender. Morant, especially, seems like an intriguing fit: He would make for a tremendous long-term pick-and-roll partner with Jackson and could learn the tricks of the trade behind veteran point guard Mike Conley Jr. (That is, unless Memphis trades Conley—multiple league sources said this week that the Jazz are expected to make another push for him after failing to land him prior to the deadline.) However, the Grizzlies stand out as the team that should most strongly consider trading down. Since Memphis will cede a future first-round pick to the Celtics, it has extra incentive to use this pick to acquire another asset.
After the lottery, Gentry also hugged Grizzlies director of player support Elliot Perry, who told The Undefeated he got more than 50 text messages after Memphis landed the No. 2 pick. Perhaps the rebuilding Grizzlies can now trade veteran point guard Mike Conley with the expected addition of Ja Morant, who averaged 24.5 points, 10 assists and 5.7 rebounds for Murray State last season. “I love the way he plays,” Perry said of Morant. “I will leave the selecting up to the guys that make the pick. But if you look at the way he played, with a lot of excitement, passion and toughness, that is what we need. You pair him with J.J. [Jaren Jackson] and you got two young guys with our franchise that we can build around.”
Omari Sanfoka II: Conley: "I want to win a championship, number one." Isn't interested in a rebuild. "I love (Jaren Jackson Jr.) I've done a lot of that, been a part of it. At some point you have to pass that torch."
The team knows Conley’s not the type of player to publicly submit a trade request. He’s not going to rock the boat, that’s never been his style. But that doesn’t mean he’s not open to being moved. “I’ll never demand anything like that. I’m not going to shut a door because of the situation I’m in,” he said. “Ultimately, because of the way it happened, with management opening the door and basically saying, ‘Here, he’s up for trade’, that put that doubt in my mind to begin with. That was the beginning of, like, ‘I’ll be OK if that happens.’ Before that, I would have been super surprised and hurt if I’d been traded. Now, it’s all I’ve been thinking about for two or three months now, my future, what’s going to happen.”
“I’ve been the good soldier. And I think that’s part of the reason I didn’t get traded. They know I’m not going to raise hell because I didn’t get traded when you told me that I might. I’m not going to have animosity, I’m still going to say hello to you when I see you in the morning. They think — he’s the guy they’re going to keep or have in a sticky situation, he’s the guy to do it. He’s not going to raise hell or anything. “They always say the good guys finish last, and I’ve always been that guy. I’m a good guy, I’m still here, I’m still showing up, fighting every day, literally playing for — we were playing for nothing for the majority of the second half of the season. I mean, convey the pick, but for me that’s not a goal. I’m trying to win, trying to make the playoffs, that kind of stuff.”
“Like at some point, when do I get the opportunity to do what’s best for me individually? If that means y’all got something planned and we can do that here, that’s ideal, I’m all for it. But if that situation arises somewhere else, I’m not closing the door on anybody. “Ever since I was put out there, my mind changed.”
"In this day and age in the NBA, talent moves around so much that it's almost like there's no value to that identity that you have with the city," said Mike Conley Sr., Conley's father and agent. "So that part is tough, but that's part of the business now. "So, if the Grizzlies are in a rebuild, Mike can't be around for that. It's unfair to put him in that situation. He's given too much to the program and to the city for him to have to be put through that. So, I hope whatever they end up doing, they do the right thing by him."
"It's just really late in my career, and I want to have a chance to win," Conley said. "I want to be able to contend and compete or have an opportunity. Whether that's here or anywhere, I'd love to have that opportunity, but I love Memphis. I love being here. I love all of the things we've created and still are creating. But if they're willing to trade me to help force that rebuild, then I am all for competing for championships and other things like that elsewhere."
The night before the Feb. 7 trade deadline, Conley tried to remain calm during what many around the NBA assumed would be his final hours with the Grizzlies. I don't feel any stress, Conley told himself. I'm good. I'm just going to go lay down and go to sleep. Instead, he spent the night sleepless and continually checked his phone. "Like somebody's going to call me to say, 'Oh, you've just been traded,' at 4 in the morning," he said. "I couldn't control that and I still couldn't turn my mind off."
Memphis seriously discussed sending Conley to the Jazz prior to the deadline, and those talks could pick back up in June, according to multiple front office executives. The Kings, who owe their pick to the Celtics, could also bolster Boston’s chances at Davis if they keep losing (the pick would go the Sixers if it’s no. 1). Only a couple of games separate teams in the lottery; we’ve entered the doldrums of the season, but the tanking race connects teams to the defining story lines of the summer.
Conley admits even he isn’t exactly sure where his calm, even-keeled demeanor comes from. He suspects his parents and upbringing have a large role in it. In a locker room with nine new faces added since opening night, in the midst of a season that has slipped away, Conley and his personality have been one of the lone sources of familiarity for this Grizzlies team. Conley also is aware that his time in Memphis may not be for long. The Grizzlies had at least one deal on the table for him three weeks ago and passed on it. Given the circumstances, he can’t help but find himself looking past this season at times, wondering what’s in store for him during the offseason.
“It’s definitely hard not to, given the last few weeks man,” Conley said. “It’s obviously been emotional. It’s definitely hard not to look at the summer, what’s going to happen and what’s the plan and stuff like that. For me, the challenge is to just stay locked in as much as I can and be present and be the guy for this team who can be that leader, help the younger guys.” “I have a bigger-than-me attitude and I just have to keep that going for the next couple months,” he continued.
Chris Haynes on which star may be available next: “Mike Conley is another guy [who seems likely to be traded]. I spoke with him a little bit during this All-Star Weekend and it’s only a matter of time. I think he’s dealt by this summertime.”
Chris Mannix: No surprise that @Mike Conley, despite recent injury history and contract situation, is so sought after right now. Has had an excellent bounce-back season and is widely regarded as a terrific locker room guy.
Michael Wallace: Conley, speaking after shootaround at OKC hours before trade deadline, says reports of him preferring to go East if traded are inaccurate. “I’ll play anywhere. I never ran from a conference ...”
Marc Stein: Utah, meanwhile, has not abandoned its pursuit of Mike Conley, league sources say, even knowing Conley's preference is to go to the East if he is dealt today. As discussed here yesterday, Memphis may decide its trade options for Conley broaden by waiting until closer to the draft
On the Mike Conley front, sources tell @TheAthletic that Indiana remains among the teams in talks with Memphis to land him. Utah, as others have mentioned, also involved. Indications from Toronto and Pacers side that Grizzlies price is prohibitively high.
Tomer Azarly: Per @Brian Windhorst on The Jump, Mike Conley's agent has made it known he does not want to play with Utah #Jazz. If he's going to be traded, he would prefer to go to the Eastern Conference.
Marc Stein: Have heard the same as Windy: There is reluctance on Conley's part to go to Utah. That said ... this is not the first time that the Jazz have heard that. Conley is owed $66 million over the next two seasons. If Utah and Memphis came to terms, Conley would have to go …
Marc Stein: Memphis is said to be seeking multiple first-round picks in exchange for Conley ... and we have seen two deals in the last week (Porzingis and Tobias) that had teams (Dallas and Philly) willing to go to those lengths
“First half just looking at the bench and seeing Marc being on the bench, just cheering, it was like man, this is it,” Conley said. “It crossed my mind, every timeout, just looking at the crowd, looking back at the bench, coaches and players and seeing my wife and kids in the stands, the same spot they’ve been in for 12 seasons. Just trying to take it all in. If it is the last time, don’t want to leave anything, no regrets.”
“They’ve been in constant contact,” Conley said on Tuesday, referring to the Grizzlies’ front office. “At least have some idea of who’s calling, if things are real or not. I got to eat at the restaurants I want to eat at and spend time with family and do things that might be the last time I can do them if things were to go down by Thursday.”
Lowry, a Philadelphia native and former Villanova star, had 17 points in the first half and finished with 20. He seemed unfazed by a report from Sports Illustrated that Toronto had offered him to Memphis as part of a trade package for Mike Conley and Marc Gasol. "I personally want to be in Toronto," Lowry said. "I've never asked for a trade. My goal is to try to win a championship here, and that's what I want to do."
Perhaps of greatest intrigue, the Toronto Raptors have called Memphis offering Jonas Valanciunas and Kyle Lowry for both of Conley and Gasol, league sources told Sports Illustrated. Memphis, sources said, would prefer to receive younger players such as OG Anunoby or draft assets in any exchange with Toronto that would send Conley north. The Grizzlies of course rejected Toronto’s initial offer. Lowry has been made aware of Toronto’s negotiations involving him, according to once source close to the All-Star point guard.
Michael Grange: Memphis is/has talked to at least six teams regarding Gasol/Conley... Toronto among them, according to more than one source. From my understanding Conley would look positively on Toronto as an option.
According to a league source, Detroit and Memphis had a conversation about Gasol a month ago but nothing manifested from those early engagements. So, now that the process of elimination has killed any suspense, Conley is very much on Detroit’s radar. According to a league source, as it stands now, the Pistons and the Jazz are the two frontrunners in the Conley Sweepstakes.
In order to potentially tip Memphis away from the Jazz’s offer, which will likely involve Ricky Rubio, a 2019 first-round pick and an assortment of contracts to make the finances match up, Detroit will have to go one step further in the asset department. Jackson and a first-round pick won’t get it done. Rubio’s contract comes off the book next year, so in order for the Grizzlies to be enticed to hold onto Jackson for another year, the Pistons will likely have to add in second-year guard Luke Kennard, who is of interest to Memphis, according to a league source, and the only tangible asset on the roster.
It’s been firmly reported that the Utah Jazz have been offering Ricky Rubio and their 2019 pick for Mike Conley, which doesn’t quite work financially. Utah has to add more money to the deal. The working assumption off of that report has been that the Jazz would be more likely to want to add Derrick Favors ($17 million non-guaranteed next season), while the Grizzlies would prefer young guard Dante Exum (roughly $10 million in each of the next two seasons).
Marc Stein: "[Trading Mike Conley] is not easy, but I think from a pure basketball perspective, he would certainly help the Jazz. Everything I've heard today in my checking is, yes, Utah is still on this, they would love to find a way to make this happen if they can, so I think [Conley to Utah] is one we have to keep an eye on. I know people have thrown out Indiana with Conley's ties there, that would be a fun one to see happen, but the chatter to this point has really been about Conley landing in Utah. So if there is a leader in that race, I would have to say it's the Jazz."
Tony Jones: Hard for me to do that without giving away who is in the trade. Let’s just say Utah has an offer on the table
Adding Aaron Holiday gets you close -- and maybe all the way there -- but it also costs yet another ball handler. They could find a third team to supply some matching salary, so they could keep one of those point guards. In any case, the current buzz is that Indiana has stepped away from Conley talks, sources say.
Detroit remains my favorite Conley team, though Memphis would likely have to swallow Reggie Jackson's contract -- or reroute him to a third team -- to snare one or two nice assets from the Pistons (perhaps a lightly-protected first-round pick and one of Detroit's young wings.) The teams have talked, but not gotten far, sources say. It's unclear if there are any other serious bidders. Everyone around the Conley sweepstakes expects it to heat up over the weekend.
Michael Wallace: There's chatter about reasons for Conley sitting tonight vs Hornets amid trade speculation. Conley's legitimately dealing with soreness from what I see and hear directly from him. Nothing major, but needed a night off. On another note, hearing nothing's imminent on Conley trade.
Memphis says they’ve received offers including better first round picks than the Jazz’s — currently slated to be the No. 19 pick — from teams around the league. One team reportedly also interested in Conley is the Detroit Pistons, sources said. As a result, the Jazz may have to weigh whether or not to include additional picks or assets if they choose to acquire Conley before Thursday’s trade deadline.
Andy Larsen: A note: if Jazz acquire player with long term, big-money deal that has money in 2021-22 (say, Jrue Holiday), they could end up having to pay the luxury tax to retain that player + Mitchell + Gobert. But Miller ownership has given FO permission to enter tax in such a situation.
Utah doesn't need another great player to be a great team, though of course they would happily take one. A small upgrade at the right position could have an outsize impact. That might come at point guard; Utah has engaged in talks with Memphis about Mike Conley already, and those talks may pick up steam as the weekend approaches, sources say.
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