Memphis Grizzlies, NBA Free Agency, Utah Jazz

NBA Trade: Mike Conley heading to the Utah Jazz

The Grizzlies have finished cleaning house, sending veteran point guard Mike Conley to the Jazz for assorted parts and a collection of draft picks.

The Grizzlies started moving towards a rebuild at the trade deadline when they sent Marc Gasol to the Raptors for Jonas Valanciunas and Delon Wright. They reportedly shopped Mike Conley at that time as well but didn’t find a deal they liked enough to pull the trigger. Now, with the No. 2 pick in the draft likely to deliver point guard Ja Morant, Memphis has finally found the deal they were looking for.

After weeks of rumors linked them with the Jazz, the Grizzlies reportedly agreed to a deal today to send Conley to Utah in exchange for Kyle Korver, Jae Crowder, Grayson Allen, the No. 23 pick and a future first-round pick.

For the Grizzlies, this would appear to be a healthy return. Korver and Crowder could both be flipped this summer for other young pieces or held onto for the beginning of the season as veteran scaffolding for their young core and then shopped again at the trade deadline. Allen didn’t get much run in his rookie season but looked like a potentially useful role player coming into the draft, given his combination of shooting and shot creation. The No. 23 pick this season may not generate a flashy return but lets Memphis swing at another project and the receding protections on the future pick could deliver much higher value down the road.

For the Jazz, they get an answer at point guard who instantly raises their ceiling. Conley’s defense is not quite at the elite level it used to be but he’s a steady backcourt presence at that end who can’t be hunted or exploited in playoff matchups. On offense, he’s become a much better shooter over the years and will help tremendously in removing some of the offensive creation burden from Donovan Mitchell.

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On an emotional level, it will be weird, especially for die-hard Grizzlies fans, to see Conley suiting up for another team. He is arguably the greatest player in franchise history and as associated with their modern identity as anyone. Still, this would appear to be a win-win, helping the Jazz move up the Western Conference contender hierarchy and adding to the Grizzlies’ war chest as they continue ramping up their rebuld.

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