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Jazz trade for Memphis point guard Mike Conley

By Ryan Miller, KSL.com | Updated - Jun 19th, 2019 @ 2:37pm | Posted - Jun 19th, 2019 @ 10:06am



SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz have found their new point guard. At long last, Mike Conley is a member of the team.

Utah has traded Grayson Allen, Kyle Korver, Jae Crowder, the No. 23 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft and a future first-round pick to the Memphis Grizzlies for Conley, a source has confirmed to KSL.com.

The Athletic’s Shams Charania was first to report the trade.

The Athletic’s David Aldridge reported that the future first-round pick will go to the Grizzlies in 2020 or 2021 if it lands between picks eight and 14. After that, it is top-six protected in 2022, top-3 protected in 2023, and top-one protected in 2024.

Conley averaged a career-high 21.1 points last season, along with 6.4 assists and 1.3 steals. He shot 36.4% from behind the 3-point line.

The 12-year veteran has two years remaining on his contract that will see him make $32.5 million next season and $34.5 million in 2020-21.

This move likely takes the Jazz out of most of the upcoming offseason drama. Utah won’t have a first-round pick in Thursday’s draft; and with Conley’s contract on the books, the Jazz won’t have significant cap space to chase one of the prized free agents. In fact, with the players going out, the Jazz will absorb Conley into their cap space, meaning they will only have a mid-level of about $4.7 million in free agency.

The Jazz can still waive Derrick Favors’ $16.9 million contract to create more space, but that doesn't seem likely after Tuesday's trade.

At the moment, the Jazz rotation appears to be Conley, Donovan Mitchell, Joe Ingles, Favors and Rudy Gobert as starters; with Dante Exum, Royce O’Neale, Georges Niang and Raul Neto as the primary subs. Utah will likely chase a shooting power forward with the mid-level exception.

Up to this point, Conley has spent his entire career in Memphis, helping the Grizzlies reach the playoffs seven straight times.

After playing just 12 games during the 2017-18 season due to a left Achilles injury, Conley played 70 games in 2018-19, averaging nearly 29 minutes a contest. On March 11, he won the Western Conference Player of the Week award, partially due to posting a career-high 40 points in a win over Portland.

The Jazz have had their eyes on Conley for a while now. Leading up to February's trade deadline, the Jazz and the Grizzlies engaged in trade talks centered around Conley, but couldn't agree to a deal. And Utah had been hoping to pair Conley with young star Donovan Mitchell for longer than that. They finally got their wish on Wednesday.

“Welcome to the squad brotha lets get it!!” Mitchell wrote to Conley on Twitter.

In February, it was reported by multiple outlets the Conley didn’t want to play in Utah. On the morning of the deadline, though, Conley denied those reports.

"I’ll play anywhere," Conley told reporters. "I never ran from a conference or any particular place. I don't know where that came from."

Conley will replace Ricky Rubio as the Jazz’s starting point guard. Rubio, who was very popular in the Jazz locker room, averaged 12.7 points and 6.1 assists last season — his second in Utah. He shot only 31.1% from 3-point range, which ranked 153rd among the 163 players with at least 200 attempts.

While no full-time Jazz starters were sent back in the trade, Crowder and Korver were key pieces to the Jazz’s rotation. Crowder played in 80 games last season with averages of 11.9 points and 4.8 rebounds in 27.1 minutes per game. He was the closest thing the Jazz had to a stretch power forward, but only connected on 33.1% of his 3-point attempts.

Korver came over in a midseason trade in late November and ended up averaging 9.1 points on 38.4% from 3-point range. His second stint with the Jazz was derailed by a late-season knee injury that kept him out for the end of the regular season.

Allen was the Jazz’s first-round pick last season. He was selected No. 21 by Utah but ended up bouncing between the Jazz and the Salt Lake City Stars for much of the season. He played in 38 games and averaged 5.6 points. Allen did, however, finish the year on a high note by dropping 40 points in the regular season finale against the Clippers.

Ryan Miller

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