Now that the NBA draft lottery has taken place, Grizzlies fans have a few more weeks to debate on the RJ Barret vs Ja Morant decision that the Memphis front office must make. The good thing about that situation is that there are extreme positives about both of those guys and each of them has star potential.
Another huge decision that looms over the Grizzlies is when and where to trade Mike Conley. He has expressed interest in leaving Memphis to join a team where he can compete for that ever elusive championship. He can only hope that he will land in a situation as perfect as Toronto, where former teammate Marc Gasol is playing in his first ever NBA Finals.
HoopsHype Mike Conley Trade Rumors
Before the most recent trade deadline, the Jazz were reportedly in advanced discussions with the Grizzlies regarding a Mike Conley deal. With Dante Exum out due to injury, the Jazz were looking to add some more support to their backcourt to help out Donovan Mitchell, whose workload was increasing beyond what he was capable of carrying. Where the deal supposedly fell apart was when the Jazz wouldn’t attach a young player to the deal — someone who could grow alongside Jaren Jackson Jr.
Mike Conley at the point guard position would be an upgrade for Indiana, who made the playoffs this year but were swept in the first round. To be fair, they really didn’t have much of a chance in the postseason, considering they played the latter part of their season without Victor Oladipo – who is the motor for their team.
HoopsHype suggests that the centerpiece to a Memphis-Indiana deal would revolve around Pacers big man Domantas Sabonis, who has really come into his own since landing in the Hoosier state in the Paul George trade after his rookie year. Last season he averaged 14.1 points and 9.3 rebounds in 25 minutes per game off the bench. The future of the center position is still up in the air for the Grizzlies as they wait to see if Jonas Valanciunas will pick up his player option this Summer. We did not get to see Grizzlies rookie Jaren Jackson Jr. play much with Valanciunas this season due to an injury that shortened his season. One aspect of the game that Jaren struggled wit this season was rebounding, so having a big man who is comfortable doing the dirty work in the paint seems like a crucial goal for the Grizzlies until Jackson proves he can be that guy.
You would think that trading for Markelle Fultz would solve everything for Orlando. Ok, not really.
The Magic have a solid core of players in Aaron Gordon, Nikola Vucevic, and Mo Bamba (TBD). They need an experienced and Grizzled veteran to lead them past the first round of the playoffs. Mike Conley could be that guy. It is probably not the championship location that he would hope to be traded to, but with a future draft pick or young prospect, the Magic might be able to persuade the Grizzlies to part with Conley.
San Antonio Spurs
In all honesty, I could totally see Mike being a Spur. He’s a savvy veteran guy who makes smart decisions and is calm in high pressure situations. A roster of DeMar DeRozan, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Mike Conley would bring 30+ years of NBA experience to the table just between those three veterans.
Derrick White had a solid season for himself for the Spurs last year. San Antonio fans are hoping that Dejounte Murray will be able to join the team in the upcoming season after missing all of last year due to ACL surgery.
San Antonio does have an extra first round pick this Summer from their Kawhi Leonard/DeMar DeRozan trade last year with Toronto, so that could give them more assets to make a deal for Conley. The first round picks that they own sit at #19 and #29.
Marc Gasol may be part of the North, but he shouted out his Core Four brethren before NBA Finals
Before the NBA Finals started, Marc Gasol was quoted saying “every teammate that I had in Memphis – Tony, Zach, and Mike especially – they’re in here, too”.
Marc Gasol was never the ‘Alpha’ of the “Core Four” – the group that consisted of Mike Conley, Zach Randolph, and Tony Allen – that led the Grizzlies to the Western Conference Finals once upon a time. However, he is a Grizzlies franchise icon and has been an integral part of many winning seasons in Memphis.
Gasol was traded to Toronto at the trade deadline and is now fighting for a chance to win an NBA title for the Raptors. However, he was not shy in sharing the fact that he still has Memphis in his veins and is trying to win a title for not just himself, but his old pals as well.
Taylor Jenkins interviews for Grizz job
The Grizzlies have been diligently searching for a head coach ever since the sudden firing of former head coach J.B. Bickerstaff occurred after the end-of-season interviews. The latest name to surface in the process is Taylor Jenkins, who currently is on the coaching staff in Milwaukee. More on him HERE.
Ja and Jaren palling it up
Most mock drafts have the Grizzlies taking Murray State point guard Ja Morant with the number 2 pick in this month’s NBA draft. If you’re plugged into the wild world of Twitter — where you can instantly communicate to anyone in the world — then you may have noticed some friendly banter occuring between Jaren Jackson Jr. and Ja Morant.
Both young men appear to have jovial personalities and should make things fun for the Grizzlies marketing department. What a gift it would be to have two gregarious up-and-comers on the same roster.
Ja Morant signs deal with Nike
Last year, several top draft picks like Marvin Bagley and DeAndre Ayton chose to sign shoe deals with Puma, putting that brand’s name back in the forefront of people’s minds.
Ja Morant announced the other day that he is signing with Nike, along with the guy who will be drafted in front of him, Zion Williamson.
Header image courtesy of Ja Morant’s Twitter page