The 2016 season did not end how Mike Conley would have liked, as he suffered a season-ending Achilles injury in mid-March. Initially, his timetable to return was just over a month, but Memphis feared coming back too soon, even for the playoffs would further damage Conley’s Achilles, and the Grizzlies did not want to risk this. Conley had a very good 2016 campaign where he averaged 15.3 PPG, 6.1 APG, and 2.9 RPG.
The 8-year veteran is slated to become an unrestricted free agent come July 1st, and there are all kinds of rumors swirling about the future of the Ohio State product. While there is no clear leader in the Mike Conley sweepstakes, most signs point towards the veteran resigning with the team. It’s quite possible that he signs a 1-year deal, as once he enters his 10th season, he can make a lot more money due to the current salary rules in the CBA. If he were to resign with Memphis, which appears to be the most likely, he could make over $100 million over the course of 5 years. Other teams can offer him deals close to $100 million but not quite that much, over the span of a 4-year deal.
There are two other teams that keep popping up when it comes to potential suitors outside of Tennessee. The Spurs have been mentioned multiple times as a team that has shown interest in Conley. With a veteran lineup of Duncan, Parker, Ginobli, and newer stalwarts Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge, the Spurs are a team that should once again contend for a title while being led by Popovich. However, with a plethora of recent veteran interest also placed in players like David West, Andre Miller, and Kevin Martin (who should also be a UFA), there may be too many veterans in a crowded locker room.
Outside of Memphis, San Antonio would be the best place to chase a title, but the number of other key players may make it hard for the Memphis vet to have the same impact as he does with the Grizzlies. The New York Knicks have also recently been mentioned as a team interested in the services of the skilled veteran, as newly hired coach Jeff Hornacek has stated that they are in need of a point guard. While some have mentioned that Jerian Grant should be given a crack at the starting PG slot, others think Conley may be offered a contract by the zen master Phil Jackson. No reports explicitly state the Knicks are after Conley, but it wouldn’t be surprising if the Big Apple came calling. Assuming Carmelo Antony stays, Conley could fit in well with Kristaps Porzingis.
Again, what appears most likely is that Conley resigns with the Grizzlies and hopefully Conley, Marc Gasol, and Zach Randolph can get back to “Grind & Grit,” and assist Memphis in their pursuit of the franchise’s first ever NBA championship.