The Utah Jazz made the conscious decision to clean house this summer, starting with the franchise’s two biggest stars.
Rudy Gobert was shipped off first to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Then this past week, Donovan Mitchell got sent away to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
In return for the two prized All-Stars the Jazz got a fairly significant haul: nine new players, seven first rounders and three first round swaps.
The only thing left at this point for Danny Ainge and Co. is to begin dealing away the role players.
Already, two teams have emerged as the frontrunners for a trade centering around Bojan Bogdanovic.
There are also two squads out there with very real interest in acquiring Jordan Clarkson.
The third piece of that puzzle is point guard Mike Conley. While the 34-year-old is objectively no longer the player he was back in 2018 with the Memphis Grizzlies, he can still be a valuable asset to a championship-contending team.
Conley is owed $22.6 million this season and $24.3 million next season – but only $14.3 million is guaranteed in that latter campaign.
At the moment, it appears as though there are three very legitimate suitors for his services.
The first is the Los Angeles Lakers. L.A. recently acquired Patrick Beverley from the Jazz, but he is a three-and-D guy at this juncture. He cannot lead an offense. Russell Westbrook, similarly, proved incapable of doing it as well last season.
Conley could be the perfect compliment alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis. He has shot above 40 percent from beyond the arc in each of his last two seasons, which would be ideal for a team that ranked 17th in three-point attempts, 18th in three-pointers made and 22nd in three-point percentage in 2022-23.
If not L.A., the Dallas Mavericks make a lot of sense. Clearly unloading Davis Bertans would be a massive win in itself, but Conley could also be a quality stabilizing figure behind Doncic. Dallas is clearly looking to build on last year’s Western Conference Finals run – and you need proven vets for that.
Finally, don’t sleep on the New Orleans Pelicans. Adding C.J. McCollum at the NBA Trade Deadline paid dividends for the organization. Adding another battle-tested guy like Conley alongside the young core of Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram could catapult this group into the playoffs.
The Pelicans have been linked to several blockbuster trades in recent weeks, but the reality is they don’t need a big move. A healthy Williamson is like acquiring a superstar in itself. They just need to fix things around the margins.
Kate Upton is the Justin Verlander of her craft. https://t.co/XWsKlxZivV
— Game 7 (@game7__) September 4, 2022
One way or another, this is shaping up to be an intriguing next few weeks.
Where will Conley ultimately be playing next year when it’s all said and done?
Time will tell.
Jennifer Withers Hoey is a former Business Development Manager who transitioned to writing about sports. With valuable connections all over the West Coast, she has used those contacts to break some of the most interesting stories pertaining to the Portland Trail Blazers, Oregon Ducks, LA Lakers, LA Clippers, Seattle Supersonics (RIP), and more.