The Utah Jazz continue to be linked to Memphis Grizzlies point-man Mike Conley in possible trade talks, but is Conley the guy for Utah?
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: the Utah Jazz, supposedly enamored with the idea of acquiring Memphis Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley, could re-engage on trade talks for the former All-Defensive Second Team selection this summer.
I know, I know — people have been reporting this ad nauseam since the Jazz band failed to bring Conley on-board at the trade deadline. This time, however, the team has been name-checked as a frontrunner to potentially acquire him in the coming weeks by one of the game’s most respected reporters.
In a piece for The Athletic (subscription required) on Monday, Shams Charania reported that the Grizz are “intensifying talks” on a possible Conley deal and that the Jazz are at or near the top of Memphis’ list of potential trade partners currently.
It stands to reason that the Grizz would dangle Conley here; they currently own the No. 2 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft and are widely expected to select Ja Morant, who has the look of a future franchise floor general.
It makes sense that Utah would pursue him, too.
Clearly, the Jazz could use another dynamic offensive player to ease to burden currently placed on Donovan Mitchell. They’re also in desperate need of more shooting, and another strong veteran voice in the Jazz locker room couldn’t hurt either. Conley checks all those boxes.
From that standpoint, his hypothetical acquisition feels like a real winner. That said, it could fail spectacularly too. Conley will turn 32 before the 2019-20 campaign tips off; in other words, prime time for a backcourt player to begin his decline.
Also — the combined $67 million he’s owed over the next two years would be a tough pill to swallow, especially if the downward slide does being soon. He has a bit of a history with injuries as well.
So, one has to ask themselves, would Conley to the Jazz be a good thing or a bad one? For my part, I’m leaning toward the former. Quite frankly, I love the guy, even if there is a healthy level of skepticism lingering beneath the surface.
In any case, the fact is that Conley is coming off a year during which he put up a career-high 21 points per contest, to go with more than six dimes and three boards per game. Even in his 30s, he represents a giant talent upgrade at the point for the Jazz.
And while his deal is substantial, it’s not like he’s on a Chris Paul-level supermax that will play him until he’s 37 and long past his expiration date. If things go south, maybe the Jazz have one year of buyer’s remorse. I’m optimistic that wouldn’t be the case, though.
There’s also something to be said for pairing him with an elite-level creator in Mitchell, something he really hasn’t had from a backcourt mate or wing player during his decade in Memphis.
One thing of note on the most recent rumors: Jazz guru Tony Jones of The Athletic says that Derrick Favors isn’t currently part of Utah’s offer for Conley, per his sources. If the Jazz can find some way to get Conley and still keep Favors, it’s an epic win.
Having said that, the probability of the Jazz having their cake and eating it too in that way seems low. There’s a good chance we’d be looking at a package involving Favors, Grayson Allen, maybe Dante Exum and a handful of picks, including this year’s first-rounder at No. 23.
If you ask me, it’s worth it. No move is risk free, adn a move for Conley is the kind of calculated risk that could catapult your team into the title picture while the Golden State Warriors are on the mend.
But what do you think? Let us know in the comments below or hit me on Twitter @RoundballRuckus.