The Nets have their GM, have their coach, so now their focus is on the draft and free agency. Brooklyn's biggest weakness is at the point and with a lot of uncertainty about who of their current point guards will return -- and how good they can be, that has to be the focus in free agency.
One point guard that a lot of NBA teams will pursue is Memphis' Mike Conley. Conley spent the first nine years of his career with the Grizzlies and his tenure with Memphis could be coming to an end after this season. He's an unrestricted free agent. Memphis is on the decline. But Memphis GM Chris Wallace is on the record saying his organization isn't backing down.
"We are undefeated in re-signing our core players, and we will remain so. We are going to re-sign Mike Conley" - Chris Wallace— Chris Vernon (@ChrisVernonShow) April 20, 2016
There are questions about Conley. He played in only 56 games this season due to tendinitis in his achilles. It's a serious injury that could be a lingering problem for Conley throughout the rest of his career, but he didn't require surgery.. He also suffered a facial fracture in the 2015 playoffs. League sources tell NetsDaily that the Nets have interest in Conley ... but should they spend big money on a point guard with injury problems?
Conley's success on the court is certainly is hard to ignore. Over the past three seasons, he's averaging 16.1 points and 5.8 assists in 32.2 minutes per game.
The Grizzlies motto is 'grit and grind' and Conley is going to have to live by that motto as he recovers from his achilles injury. As Bleacher Reports' Scott Polacek wrote recently. "He was the stabilizing force and facilitator in the offense that relied on feeding the low post with Zach Randolph and the high post with Marc Gasol. Conley also hounded the opposing team’s point guard as a suffocating defender on a nightly basis."
Of course, the last time the Nets gave a 28-year-old point guard a max contract it didn't end well ... at all. So, Brooklyn will certainly have to think long and hard before offering Conley a max deal. Conley will get a big payday due to his talent and the cap going up.
Firing Lionel Hollins won't help the Nets if they truly have their sights set on acquiring Conley. Conley played for Hollins when he was the coach in Memphis and Conley was always a big supporter of his former coach, at one point calling him "my second father." Conley admitted that it was tough seeing Hollins get fired by the Nets, but he stated that his sole priority that he will look at in teams trying to sign him is winning.
The Nets won't be a threat to make a run for a championship anytime soon, but they will be reliant on their cap space, new practice facility, young players and the New York market to try and recruit free agents. Also, new coach Kenny Atkinson is known around the league for his masterful ability to help players, particularly point guards develop. Jeff Teague said Atkinson made him a better player
That certainly could be one of Brooklyn's strategies to try and persuade Conley to sign with them. Conley will be entering his 10th NBA season next year, but there's always room to become a better player no matter how experienced you are.
One league source told NetsDaily that Conley is the only point guard out there who can elevate the Nets The Nets have to get him, said the source. But before they push that button, they'll have to know how much money he wants and how much time his injury will need to recover.
And of course, how much lure will the Nets have for Conley.