Signs of Mike Conley staying?
When they say no news is good news that might be the case for Mike Conley. On Marc Stein’s most recent spotify chat he had an interesting tidbit about Mike Conley returning.
“Utah needs to bring Conley back. I haven’t heard anything about him leaving.” - @TheSteinLine— John Ledesma (@JohnnyNBA) July 23, 2021
Stein is right, Mike Conley is a big part of the Jazz’s current window to win the title. When healthy, Conley makes a big difference for the Jazz in multiple ways. Whether it’s being a secondary scoring option and playmaker or being a solid defender at the point of attack, the Jazz are more dynamic offensively with Conley on the team.
If they lose Conley, they can’t just replace him by signing someone else. With the Jazz over the cap, losing Conley means they lose him for nothing because they are already over the cap before re-signing him. That makes signing Conley a big priority.
Now, there are suitors out there that might be willing to outbid the Jazz. The New York Knicks have cap space and might be willing to make an offer. The thing in Utah’s favor is the health situation for Conley. Conley has had various injuries on the Jazz that have held him out for not an insignificant amount of time. Just this playoffs the Jazz were without Conley and that was despite the entire season of resting Conley on all back to back games.
That alone will likely scare teams away from throwing a contract at Conley that the Jazz won’t be willing to beat. It’s a double-edged sword with Conley. When healthy, Conley played at an all-star level and helped lead the Jazz to the best record in the NBA. But these last few years of injury problems puts the Jazz on a constant tightrope when they enter the playoffs. Either way, it’s a sword the Jazz would rather wield than let go.
There’s a lot of rumors coming out about the Jazz
There was this rumor last week about the Jazz making multiple players on the team available via trade from Matt Moore. (You can read the full article here:)
Multiple league sources indicated this week that the Jazz were open to trade discussions. The consensus is that Derrick Favors is not only available, but Utah is eager to move him to clear his roughly $20 million in remaining salary (including a $10 million player option for 2022-23).
However, sources suggested that Bojan Bogdanovic and Joe Ingles were also bandied about as available if the Jazz could get a significant upgrade, which would be a major shakeup for the team, especially with Mike Conley headed to unrestricted free agency this summer.
Two executives flatly countered that this week, however, saying the Jazz had indicated in no uncertain terms that they were planning to “run it back” with the core from this season.
So which is it?
Given the information, I’d lean towards the idea that the Jazz are more likely to stand pat. Those things can change quickly if Conley moves on and Utah is forced to try and reconfigure the roster, or if ownership increases its desire for aggressive moves.
A more simplistic look might simply be that the Jazz intend to run it back unless an offer they can’t refuse comes along, which it most likely won’t.
But this is a good example of how much “summer noise” there is and how all information, no matter the angle, should be treated with skepticism.
It’s an interesting rumor and quite possible with Justin Zanik now running things now that Dennis Lindsay is taking a consultant role.
But now we are hearing more rumors from bigger national writers. Jonathan Givony tweeted this today.
NBA executives say they suspect the Utah Jazz will have some future luxury tax concerns they may look to address on draft night, in order to resign Mike Conley, potentially by dangling one of their veterans, such as Joe Ingles, for a draft pick. ESPN mock: https://t.co/VEdy8p5uV6— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) July 25, 2021
This is not something Jazz fans should write off. Givony is one of the top NBA draft guys and is plugged in with all these prospects. As always with these rumors, you need to follow the smoke to determine the fire. Because he’s so locked into the draft, Givony tweeting this means that the Jazz have likely been having draft related talks with other teams. That could mean anything though, moving up in the draft or moving out. These things are always fluid and if the Jazz do make some sort of draft trade it’s going to be much closer, or during the draft.
That’s also two times we’ve heard actual Jazz names on the block which tells me the Jazz are out there looking to improve with moves. It doesn’t mean a move is going to happen, but it’s heartening to see the Jazz aren’t just resting on their laurels again.
This tweet is also interesting because it definitely doesn’t strike me as coming from the Jazz front office. Do we really think that Zanik is going to teams with an attitude of, “Gee, our cap situation isn’t great, want to help us out?” No. Zanik is out there looking to go for it and he’s most likely doing it at the behest of Ryan Smith. (side note: I’ve always wanted to use “behest” in an article.”) This type of messaging is some GM or Agent trying to send a message that the Jazz aren’t in a position of leverage. Maybe it’ll work, or Maybe the Golden State Warriors are trying to gain leverage by leaking information like this so they don’t have to give up both of their picks for Bojan Bogdanovic:
HUGE: Woj says the Warriors are either trading for Bradley Beal or making the picks at 7 and 14. No other trades.— Casey Keirnan (@CaseyKeirnan) July 25, 2021
Whatever is the case, it’s rumor season and it’s one of the best times of the year. Get ready for more posturing up until Thursday’s draft.