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.
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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: Mike Conley admits he felt a little weird telling Grizzlies fans “I’ll see you next season” on the court before last night’s game. “I was trying to use my words carefully. It felt right at the time.”
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 …” pic.twitter.com/8DLskJjTTH
Vincent Ellis: But to be clear. Something could change where they suddenly pivot back to Conley. Just tough to see why at this point without Bullock. And #Grizzlies don’t want #Pistons’ bad contracts, I’m hearing. No way to a deal without that happening. #Grizz want expirings.
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
Michael Grange: To to the extent there was any traction on a deal that would involve Lowry/Conley there is none now, I am told.
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 …
Eric Woodyard: Derrick Favors’ camp has been in touch with the Jazz, and to their understanding, the trade rumors are real with him and Rubio being linked to a Mike Conley Jr. deal. However, both players are still here in Utah and remain focused on the Suns tonight until further notice.
Marc Stein: The Grizzlies, meanwhile, continue to press in their efforts to move Marc Gasol (Charlotte in the lead) and Mike Conley (Detroit and Utah are deeply interested but are yet to meet Memphis’ asking price)
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
Omari Sanfoka: Mike Conley on Marc Gasol potentially being traded tonight: “Knowing what’s possible after tonight, it’s going to be hard for a lot of us, especially myself with all the years we’ve played together.” Says he talked to Marc Gasol earlier and he’s in good spirits.
“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).
The Athletic’s Jazz writer Tony Jones said on a podcast last night that the Jazz have added a second-round pick to their offer. There’s not just smoke around Conley to the Jazz. The flames are pretty visible.
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: I’d say the two sides are seriously talking. As is Memphis and Detroit.
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
Tony Jones: I’d say Detroit’s offer is very competitive
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.
As the trade deadline approaches, the Utah Jazz have made an offer to the Memphis Grizzlies involving Ricky Rubio and a 2019 first round pick for point guard Mike Conley, The Salt Lake Tribune has learned.
The Grizzlies didn’t immediately accept the offer, though considered it in the context of other offers that they’ve been getting for Conley from other teams around the league.
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.
It’s been a tumultuous week for Conley and Gasol. Grizzlies owner Robert Pera called them on Tuesday with news that the Grizzlies had decided to put them on the trade block. Afterward, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski made the trade news public on Twitter. Conley appreciates that he heard the news from Pera rather than Twitter, but it hasn’t made this week easier to navigate. He and Gasol have had to answer questions about a trade situation they didn’t ask for and has no clear timeframe or resolution. They’ve been tasked with eulogizing an era that has yet to come to a close. “During the game you’re not so much caught up into that, until you finish and you look up like, ‘what if that was it,” Conley said after Wednesday’s loss to the Hornets. “It’s tough to look back and think of all the memories we’ve had. It’s been a long ride, and a successful one at that.”
As we head into trade deadline season, the Jazz continue to search for that dynamic third piece that up to this point has eluded them, league sources tell The Athletic. According to sources, the Jazz have expressed interest in Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley and Wizards small forward Otto Porter Jr., both of whom have been put on the trade block by their respective teams. Does that mean the Jazz will for sure actively make offers for one or both? Not necessarily. But it does mean if circumstances align, the Jazz may have interest in throwing their hat into the ring.
Then, Gasol expressed surprise over the fact that Conley’s name is part of trade discussions. “I don’t understand why Mike is in those talks either,” Gasol said. “Mike is one heck of a player, and we’re going to need good players moving forward. I don’t understand why Mike is in this.”
The Memphis Grizzlies may be ready to start rebuilding, listening to trade offers for the NBA’s longest-tenured teammates. Guard Mike Conley said Grizzlies owner Robert Pera had told both he and center Marc Gasol on Tuesday that they will be mentioned in potential trade talks. Pera “called me just to make me aware that they were going to go about doing this,” Conley said after Wednesday’s shoot-around before their game against the Charlotte Hornets. “Outside of that, I haven’t really thought about it or heard much about it.”
Grizzlies coach J.B. Bickerstaff says he has received no directives from the front office on playing limitations or how to use Conley and Gasol in the weeks before the trade deadline. “It’s obviously a distraction. It’s obviously on people’s minds,” Bickerstaff said. “But the only way we can handle it is by paying attention to what’s important now. We have no control over tomorrow. We don’t have any control over what happened yesterday. .We can’t waste energy on the what ifs, the possibilities.”
Marc Gasol and Mike Conley are available. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported tonight that the Grizzlies would explore the trade market for each player ahead of the Feb. 7 NBA trade deadline, and this was subsequently confirmed to The Daily Memphian by a source with knowledge of the team’s thinking. It doesn’t mean that a trade for either (much less both) will happen in the next couple of weeks, but what was almost certainly already a possibility now becoming so transparently public probably makes it more likely.
For the first time, the Memphis Grizzlies will begin listening to trade offers on center Marc Gasol and guard Mike Conley, league sources tell ESPN.
The Grizzlies could decide to keep one or both players if no deals meet their threshold, but they’re motivated to begin reshaping the roster around 2018 first-round pick, forward Jaren Jackson, league sources said.
Adrian Wojnarowski: For first time, Memphis will begin listening to trade offers on franchise stars Marc Gasol and Mike Conley, league sources tell ESPN. Memphis has reached a crossroads and is preparing to weigh deals involving one or both of its cornerstone veterans. Story soon on ESPN.
While there’s been speculation that Memphis would go into this offseason looking to start a rebuild of the franchise, the team has given indications that it intends to keep its core together — guard Mike Conley and center Marc Gasol — and attempt to return to the postseason under new coach J.B. Bickerstaff. That would mean losing the 2019 first-rounder to the Celtics.
What are the chances that Memphis will opt for the mega blow-up and move Mike Conley along with Gasol. As a Nuggets fan, he is my dream point guard, to pair with Jokic and Milsap. Is Jamal Murray, a first, and anyone not named Jokic, Milsap, or Harris enough to get Conley? David Aldridge: Well, you can’t ask a team for its best player and give them your third or fourth-best player, Phil. Memphis is going to ride Conley and Gasol for the foreseeable future, but if the Grizzlies were to talk trade with Denver, it would almost certainly have to include Harris or Jokic as part of a package for Conley — and the Nuggets, almost certainly, would pass.
“We have no intention to trade Marc,” Wallace told ESPN when asked if the franchise might consider dealing the 32-year-old big man. “We never seriously considered that at all. We never placed any calls to any teams in that regard. So that’s not happening. “It’s not just Marc that this whole equation is about. It’s also Mike Conley, when he comes back. We’ve got two guys among the elite in the league at their respective positions that are still very much in their window with an awful lot of tread left on their tires.”
Typically, the idea that Gasol could be available stems from the perception that Memphis has lost momentum and “needs” a rebuild. The Grizzlies, in reality, have made the playoffs the past seven years, and their decision to re-sign both Gasol and Mike Conley (who is also considered “untouchable” according to sources) was made with the intention of building around the duo long-term.
Brian Geltzeiler: Re: Conley MEM/DET trade talks. Source tells hoopscritic.com that Reggie Jackson would go back to MEM in a potential deal. – John Holliner: @hoopscritic lol keep trying bro you’ll get one of these by blind luck eventually.
Chris Vernon: Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace just made pretty clear on show that Mike Conley on team long-term is major priority, and don’t believe otherwise
Marc Stein: With 25 hours to go until trade deadline, one source close to situation says Memphis has thus far refused to talk Mike Conley with any team
Brian Geltzeiler: Sources tell hoopscritic.com that Memphis and Detroit are discussing a deal centered around Mike Conley Jr….
With the Grizzlies looking terrible every time they play a top-tier opponent (which coincides with every time they’re on national television and exposed to casual fans outside of their market), there’s a natural push from folks to start talking about the Grizzlies needing to trade Conley prior to a forced rebuild, “so they don’t lose him and get nothing in return.” This, at least according to every single person I’ve queried on the subject, is not the plan. Plans change and things shift very quickly in the NBA, but it’s at least not where Memphis intends to be.
General Manager Chris Wallace declined comment on the prospect of trading, or not trading, any particular player citing the complexities and often rapidly changing environment that exists within the NBA trade market. However, Wallace was willing to give, in no uncertain terms, what the Grizzlies’ intentions are as of now regarding Conley. “If you look back at the five years since the tide has turned for this franchise (since the 2011 playoff berth and the start of the “Grit-Grind” era),” Wallace told CBS Sports this week, “we have re-signed every core player for the Memphis Grizzlies.”
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May 25, 2019 | 5:10 am EDT Update
Mike D’Antoni said negotiations are taking place that he is hopeful will keep him in Houston beyond next season. D’Antoni has one year left on his Rockets deal. “We’ve been in contract discussions and we still are about the extension,” D’Antoni said in an interview with FOX 26 Sports. “I think I can go two or three more years at the level I want to be at and everything will play out in the near future.”
D’Antoni said a lot of work has already been done toward completing a contract extension. “It’s a good ways (into it). I don’t do it. That’s my agent. He takes care of that stuff. They’ve been discussing it for a long time now. It just hasn’t been a couple weeks. It’s been awhile that they’ve been talking. So they’ll figure it out. “Everybody likes security. It’s just a matter of okay this is the direction the organization wants to go. I want to be a part of it. It’s just normal business and we just got to take care of business.”
The overhaul of the Rockets coaching staff took several additional deep cuts on Friday, with the Rockets letting four more staff members know they would not be back next season. Rockets assistant coach Roy Rogers will not receive a new contract for next season, his agent Warren LeGarie said on Friday, making Rogers the second top assistant on Mike D’Antoni’s staff for the past three seasons that will not be offered a new contract. Rockets assistant Mitch Vanya, video coordinator John Cho were also told they would not be brought back, a person with knowledge of the decision said. Rockets player development assistant Irv Roland said on Friday that he was also told he would not be back.
Irving apologized to James for the way things ended between them in Cleveland, and the All-Star guard reportedly “has had discussions” about joining the Lakers this summer. A James-Irving reunion might seem far-fetched, but the two stars hung out together Thursday in Los Angeles, and then James liked a photoshopped picture of Irving in a Lakers jersey.
Even though the Lakers talk is the hot rumor, ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan poured some cold water on it Friday on the latest Hoop Collective podcast. “I did a little digging around and my feeling is very strongly that while LeBron and Kyrie have kissed and made up, that Kyrie is not going there,” she said. “He’s just not. I just don’t believe it. And I think people close to him just don’t believe it either.”