During Memphis Grizzlies shootaround this morning, Mike Conley was asked if it was true that he didn’t want to stay in the Western Conference if he was traded. His reply?
“I’ll play anywhere.”
“I’ll play anywhere,” Mike Conley just said during shootaround. Said he isn’t sure where the rumor that he wants to play in the East came from and that has no conference preference.— Omari Sankofa II (@omarisankofa) February 7, 2019
This is according Omari Sankofa II of The Athletic. It appears that the rumors of him not wanting to stay in the West with a team like Utah weren’t planted by his side. Which either leaves the Pistons or Memphis front office as the culprits for the smoke screen. If it was the Pistons, it was there to scare the Jazz off—spoiler: it didn’t work. If it was the Grizzlies, it was to inflate his price—YET AGAIN—to pry as much as they can out of Utah—spoiler: it hasn’t worked either.
This is some good news for Utah to start the day. Now let’s see if Utah can catch this Grizzly.
Another day, another Mike Conley rumor.
The Utah Jazz are still hoping to acquire the 31 year old Memphis point guard. Marc Stein reports that Utah “has not abandoned its pursuit of Mike Conley.” Stein says that Utah is not deterred by his preference to play in the Eastern Conference. Which why should they be? It’s a preference not a demand.
Utah, meanwhile, has not abandoned its pursuit of Mike Conley, league sources say, even knowing Conley's preference is to go to the East if he is dealt today. As discussed here yesterday, Memphis may decide its trade options for Conley broaden by waiting until closer to the draft— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) February 7, 2019
I can understand from Mike Conley’s point of view that he wants to be in the Eastern Conference because it’d be easier to become an All-Star. After all, D’Angelo Russell is an all-star in the East. Russell is having a great year, but he wouldn’t be in the conversation in the Western Conference. Now that all could change if the NBA changes the whole thing dramatically and just picks the best guys regardless of conference. Then Conley’s preference may not be a preference at all.
The Grizzlies are playing fast and loose at the deadline waiting until the very end. That makes me incredibly nervous as last year they rested Tyreke Evans the 48 hours before the trade deadline only to fumble at the 1 yard line and not trade him. Evans would leave Memphis while Memphis got nothing. That was only with one player. The Grizzlies this year have three players and that doesn’t inspire anymore confidence that they’re competent enough to not string teams along for their inept ride.
Hopefully, Utah doesn’t get burnt by their front office wannabe dumpster fire, and come out with their trade target. But if they don’t? Utah will have quite a few bruised egos left to pick up the pieces in the locker room. Feels like Utah has been in this race for so long that they gotta figure out a way to get this deal done without giving up the farm.