At the end of the Grizzlies' season Sunday -- a season in which injuries forced them to use an NBA record 28 players -- Mike Conley Jr. spoke about how much he loved his team and the city of Memphis. Then, in the cold light of Monday, Conley, the best point guard prospect in free agency, said he'd need certain assurances from ownership before he'd re-sign.
"It's no secret," Conley said. "Everybody's wondering if we can bring together enough guys in the offseason. They have the right formula. They have enough money and an opportunity to find the right guy. But will we be able to attract this person or that person?"
"We need to be committed to doing the things, whatever it may be and however hard the decision may be, to do the right things in order to get us where we need to go," Conley told reporters.
So, while Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace guaranteed the team would resign the league's best point guard in assist-to-turnover ratio --and the Grizz can offer him more than $100 million, Conley wants proof his team will contend.
The Grizzlies are in a bit of a fix. Zach Randolph, who turned 35 this summer, is on the decline. Marc Gasol, 30, is coming off a broken foot. Tony Allen, the defensive heart of grit 'n grind culture, is 34. Vince Carter and Matt Barnes, both free agents, are 39 and 36. Lance Stephenson, who played well this season, has a team option for $9.4 million. Conley himself has a bit of a question mark: a sore achilles that caused him to shut down before the playoffs.
The Nets have long been interested in Conley, but so have the Knicks, who no doubt will make the 28-year-old their top priority. Allen playfully warned Conley he'd better stick around. "If I see you in New York or one of them places, you got a flagrant foul coming."
From what Conley said, Allen should be sharpening his elbows. He's looking.
- Mike Conley -- Memphis Grizzlies need to make moves if I'm to stay - ESPN
- Beyond top priority of re-signing Mike Conley, Grizzlies face summer of ‘tough decisions’ (w/ videos) - Ron Tillery - Memphis Commercial Appeal
- Mike Conley’s Grizzlies demand may give hesitant Knicks a shot - Marc Berman - New York Post