The Memphis Grizzlies’ injury-riddled season finally came to a merciful end on Sunday when the Spurs swept them out of the first round of the playoffs. They can now turn their attention to more pressing matters, namely the looming free agency of star point guard Mike Conley. Conley will be a Unrestricted Free Agent on July 1 and will likely have numerous teams clamoring to secure his services.
He’s been mostly mum about his intentions up to this point, but when speaking to reporters on Monday following the Grizzlies’ loss, Conley indicated that he is, in fact, leaning toward re-signing with Memphis.
Except, there are a few caveats, via ESPN.com:
“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 said a day after the Grizzlies were swept in the first round by the San Antonio Spurs.
Local beat reporter Peter Edmiston posted several other telling quotes on his Twitter timeline, starting with the fact that Conley clearly has an affinity for the place he’s called home his entire career.
On the business side of it is where things can potentially get tricky. But Conley wasn’t at all shy about applying the pressure to team brass to sign high-quality players and made no bones about how a lack of urgency on their part could delay the whole process.
On the one hand, it’s extremely good news for the Grizzlies that one of their best players – not to mention a highly sought-after free agent – wants to stick around. Now, they just have to deliver on those demands. The money itself shouldn’t be a problem. They have cap space and assets to work with, along with a billionaire owner with unfathomably-deep pockets. The question is whether they’ll actually be able to lure free agents to a small market like Memphis.
If that doesn’t work, they can instead turn to Tony Allen, who has arguably the most convincing argument of anyone for why Conley should re-sign.