The Boston Celtics will need to find a new starting point guard if Kyrie Irving leaves the franchise in NBA free agency over the coming weeks, and one option for the C's to consider is making a trade for Memphis Grizzlies star Mike Conley.
The Grizzlies point guard has been linked to trade rumors for months, and those reports have surfaced with more frequency ever since Memphis won the No. 2 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft lottery, which gives them the chance to select Murray State's Ja Morant as the team's new point guard of the future.
The Athletic's Jordan Brenner reported Tuesday an update on Conley's situation, and that Boston will at least be in the mix for his services.
The Celtics will be in on Mike Conley, but Utah, Indiana and Detroit are all lining up trade offers too. And they'll likely have the full mid-level exception to work with, which starts at $9.2 million. They could use that to add a veteran point guard to pair with Rozier-Darren Collison, Delon Wright, Patrick Beverley and Tomas Satoransky could be available at that price range, while Cory Joseph should come cheaper. If they end up dealing frontcourt pieces for Beal or Conley, and Marcus Morris walks, they could use the midlevel to land a forward from a group that includes Ariza, Gay, Maxi Kleber, Al-Farouq Aminu and Rodney Hood, says a league source.
Conley is a good player and had a solid season for a disappointing Grizzlies team in 2018-19. He averaged 21.1 points, 6.4 assists and shot 36.4 percent from 3-point range.
The problem with Conley is two-fold. He'll be 32 years old in October, and his contract is not team friendly. He's set to make a little more than $32 million next season, and he has a player option for 2020-21 worth more than $34 million, per Spotrac.
Conley has never averaged seven or more assists per game in a season, and he's scored 20-plus points per game in just two seasons. The 12-year veteran has shot better than 40 percent from 3-point land only twice. The Celtics shouldn't give up valuable trade assets for a 31-year-old veteran who's not a great shooter or playmaker and also makes a ton of money. It just doesn't make much sense. Re-signing backup point guard Terry Rozier is a better option for Boston than pursuing Conley.
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