Even though it’s been known to be coming for some time, it still stings.
Mike Conley is no longer a member of the Memphis Grizzlies.
To discuss the ramifications of the deal that shipped Mike to the Utah Jazz, I have assembled a solid group of GBBers. Joining me are GBB Senior Writers Parker Fleming, Brandon Abraham, McCarty Maxwell, and GBB Writers Shawn Coleman and Justin Lewis.
After some time to think it over, do you think the Grizzlies got max value for Mike Conley?
GBB SITE MANAGER JOE MULLINAX: In a word? Yes. This deal was a home run for Memphis, and Grizzlies fans that are hesitant are still thinking in a micro sort of way. It’s time to expand your mind - Memphis is going to be young, and probably bad, this coming season. But the star of this trade won’t come to fruition for three years - no, not Grayson Allen. The 2020 protected 1st round pick, which almost certainly will not convey until 2022, is arguably one of the most valuable traded 1sts in recent years. That pick, in what will possibly be the rumored “double draft” where the one and done rule will officially be gone, could be a final piece in a title contender. The sting of the Boston “convey” debate just got a heck of a lot less painful. Kudos to this front office - the Grizzlies got max value for Mike.
GBB SENIOR WRITER PARKER FLEMING: I’d say so. Though I wanted the Grizzlies to trade for Hayward and a combination of the 14, 20, 22 pick, I can’t deny the beauty of this package. They picked up tradable veterans, a young player worth taking on a flier, a late first-round pick in this year’s draft, and an additional first-round pick with favorable protections. I was worried about getting rooked by Utah in any potential trade, but I feel like the Grizzlies received an extremely strong haul here.
GBB SENIOR WRITER BRANDON ABRAHAM: I think the Grizzlies got max value out of the Jazz for Mike. I’m not sure if there were better deals out there or not but I think the Grizz got enough value for Mike to keep fans happy.
GBB SENIOR WRITER MCCARTY MAXWELL: Yes. You have to understand true value of Conley and the needs of teams with assets that Memphis would be willing to take. Conley is an aging PG on a max contract, that’s a tough sell for teams with picks to giveaway. They got two first rounds and a knock down shooter, I see that as good value.
GBB WRITER JUSTIN LEWIS: 2 first round picks, a first round pick from last season an expiring contract and a non guaranteed contract? Yeah, sign me up all day. This exceeds all expectations I had in a return for Conley.
GBB WRITER SHAWN COLEMAN: Overall, Yes. You certainly could make the argument that the Grizzlies may have been able to get back more value in terms of a package of players and picks by itself. However, when you consider the number assets acquired, the large scale of financial flexibility created and how quickly it will be available, and the potential for more moves to be made, the Grizzlies did quite well. For the Grizzlies to vastly improve so many areas of their franchise in one move, I feel max value was reached.
Which asset that Memphis acquired is your favorite?
JM: No offense to Grayson Allen, but it’s not him. It’s the 2020 1st round pick. That is going to be a heavily sought after asset, even if Utah remains good through those years, because of the double draft potential. A pick at #20, for example, would be like a pick at #14 or so in a normal draft. The combination of high school seniors and college freshmen entering the pool at once is extremely enticing - and the Grizzlies have a real shot at having two picks in that draft.
PF: As a fan, Grayson Allen, one of my favorite college basketball players ever. However, as a blogger and NBA nerd, the future first-round pick is my favorite asset here. The Jazz will be a playoff team the next two years, which means they’ll keep the pick. However, with a 34-year old Mike Conley, and possibly $75M tied up to Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert by then, the Grizzlies could acquire a really good first-round pick by 2022 -- when high schoolers could potentially enter the draft.
BA: I love me some Grayson Allen, but my favorite piece of the trade is the future draft pick. It is likely to go to the Grizzlies in the loaded “double draft” in 2022. I believe that player will end up better than any other piece the Grizzlies got back for Mike.
MM: The two picks for sure. Korver and Crowder are just names on a page, and Grayson Allen could surprise me but likely is a Jimmer Freddette replica. The picks give the Grizzlies a chance to draft talent of their own choosing and truly prepare for a future that will take shape in three years.
JL: The beautifully structured protection on the future first round pick. It looks most likely to convey in 2022 and that’s amazingly well done.
SC: The future pick is my favorite value from the trade. The simple reason is that the Grizzlies will likely have two top 20 picks in what could be the deepest draft in NBA history. While both picks may not be in the lottery, they likely will get two lottery-level talents if they were in any other draft. That is a great potential haul for a team looking to again compete right around the 2021-2022 season.
Over/under 50 games played for the Memphis Grizzlies combined for Jae Crowder and Kyle Korver?
JM: Give me the under...but it might be close. I think Crowder could very well work his way in to the starting lineup for the Grizzlies, especially with the shoulder concerns surrounding Kyle Anderson. He makes sense as a trade deadline asset - I do not think he lasts in Memphis through February. Meanwhile, I’d be stunned if Kyle Korver ever suits up for the Grizzlies - his contract is only partially guaranteed, and he almost certainly wants to play for a contender if he doesn’t retire. I doubt Memphis prevents him from doing that.
PF: Life is too short to take the under. I wouldn’t be surprised if Crowder sticks with Memphis this season. Korver is going to reunite with Bron Bron in LA.
BA: I’m going to take the under. I think Memphis waives Korver and his partially guaranteed contract prior to 7/10. Crowder will likely play some for the Grizzlies next year, but will be a valuable trade piece come deadline time assuming the Grizz are out of contention. I think they’ll flip Crowder and his expiring contract for more picks by the deadline.
MM: I’ll take the over on combined games. Korver may stick around because the Grizzlies literally always need a shooter. Crowder is just a good trade piece and likely won’t have a true place on this team. Korver also looks shiny in trades, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see both of them flipped for someone else, but at least Korver can contribute something of value.
JL: Under. Korver will be waived and Crowder if not traded now will be traded at the deadline to a contender or as an expiring.
SC: No, I feel that both Jae Crowder and Kyle Korver will be avenues to assets for the Grizzlies before the season starts. Korver could be bought out or traded for assets so that he can find a new team in free agency, while Jae Crowder could be moved at the during the 2019 draft or at the trade deadline. The Grizzlies are in full future asset acquisition mode, and Crowder and Korver both are ways to add to that collection.
What is your favorite Mike Conley memory?
JM: There’s too many to choose from. I think, for the sake of recency bias, I am going to go with the last game he and Marc Gasol shared the “floor” together - when a Marc trade was reportedly imminent, and Memphis pulled him from the lineup and he sat on the bench and watched part of the game. It was a reminder of the human element in all of this - two best friends, preparing to move on to the next step of their careers, sharing one more embrace. It stands out in my memory, even among all the great plays and moments from Conley’s Grizzlies career.
PF: On the court, it’s either the “Masked Mike” or 2017 playoff series. In both of those events, he established himself as a star and received the national recognition he deserved. As a person though, it was meeting him at a press conference in 2016 -- shameless plug.
BA: There are many Mike Conley memories, but him coming back from fracturing his face to battle against the Golden State Warriors is my favorite. Shows how tough Conley was for Memphis throughout his career. Game 4 of the 2017 playoffs and his duel with Kawhi is a well-deserved honorable mention.
MM: 2015 Western Conference Semis versus the Golden State Warriors. Conley had no business playing in that series, but decided to tough it out as David versus the Goliath Warriors. That series turned out to be an L for Memphis, but was so inspiring to watch the team hold their own with a banged up starting point guard. Conley had a great series and became a Memphis legend before our eyes.
JL: Last season, the home game against Orlando. We had trade Marc, the season was lost, but he hit a shot and hit the ground but was screaming and yelling. He was still giving it his all for this city and team.
SC: My favorite Conley moment was when he scored his career high 40 points this past March. It may not have been in the playoffs or come in a winning season, but it was moment where Mike Conley truly got the recognition he deserved. He may have never been an All-Star, but sure as heck has played like one throughout his career. It was extra special that he played at a true All-Star level in his final month as a member of the Grizzlies.
Thanks to the guys for joining me, and thanks to Mike Conley for all he has done for Memphis.