Reports have come out today that there are growing concerns around the Memphis Grizzlies organization of Mike Conley maybe leaving to test the free agency market this summer.
Excerpt from ESPN’s Ian Begley:
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. 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.
The Grizzlies have a little reason to worry about Conley leaving. The main reason would be that Conley feels that he can not get out of the middle of the pack of the Western Conference if he continues his career with Memphis. That is a fair assessment of the state of the franchise because it seems that when the Grizzlies are right there, they let the opportunity slip right through their fingers. A pure example of that is the Grizzlies letting a 2-1 series lead go during the 2015 Western Conference semifinals.
The Grizzlies have something that other teams around the league do not which is contract leverage. They have the opportunity to offer Conley a big five-year contract when other teams can only max him out for $30 million less. Now, Conley could test the free agency market to just see what other opportunities are out there. Some teams to keep in mind are the Knicks and Spurs. The Knicks have the money to offer Conley and are looking for a savvy veteran guard to team up with Kristaps Porzingis now that Carmelo is at the tail end of his career. For the Spurs, well, this would be Conley’s best chance at a title. The combination of him, Leonard and Aldridge could finally be what stops the Warriors from truly dominating the west. Veteran guard Tony Parker would obviously have to split a decent amount of time with him, so that may not go over too well in Parker’s eyes. Other teams to keep in mind are the Sixers, Rockets, and any other team lacking a true point guard.
There will be plenty of teams interested if Conley tests the open market. My money is on him staying in Memphis, just because of how much more money they can offer compared to other teams. Also, knowing Justin Timberlake wants to you stay with his franchise has to create some leeway, right?