Mike Conley Jr., on paper, is exactly the kind of player the Celtics should be going after if they lose Kyrie Irving in free agency this summer and remain in 'win now' mode. Despite his age (31) and pricy salary, he's got a nice mix of scoring and passing ability and is almost certain to be moved this summer after Memphis landed the No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Point guard Ja Morant is the likely choice for the Grizzlies with that selection, giving the Grizzlies another reason to sell high now with Conley following a strong year for the veteran.
We've already brought up some of the particulars of the Celtics potentially pursuing Conley last month and that possibility was brought back to the forefront on Tuesday night after Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com mentioned the Celtics while discussing Conley Jr. in a TV Draft special as a potential suitor. While some have tweeted that Wojnarowski linked the Pacers, Jazz and Celtics (if Kyrie leaves) as having interest in Conley Jr., listening to the exact words from Wojnarowski shows an important clarification here. He is not reporting those teams have interest in Conley, he's just suggesting the possibility, a huge difference. Here's the full quote on the matter.
"Conley has great value," said Wojnarowski. "He’s got two years left on his deal. Teams like Utah who talked about potential trades, who need point guards. If Boston loses Kyrie Irving in free agency, do they look at perhaps — a Mike Conley? Indiana, another team that talked trade, needs a point guard, I think (Memphis) could get a really good package back for him."
League sources indicated to BostonSportsJournal.com that while the Celtics like Conley, it's highly unlikely they swing a deal for him this summer even if Irving leaves. Why? The mechanics behind the deal would be incredibly tough to pull off.
We've already broken down the challenges of salary matching across the NBA