By now, you may have heard the news. Mike Conley is headed to the Utah Jazz where he will join the newly formed super team with superstar Donovan Mitchell, and DPOTY Rudy Gobert. In exchange, the Jazz have given up Grayson Allen, Jae Crowder, and the 23rd overall pick in the draft (became Darius Bazley), as well as a 2020 first round pick. So who wins this trade?
Why the Jazz win
The Utah Jazz scored a consistent guard in Mike Conley for a relatively reasonable price. The Jazz cleared aging players in Kyle Korver and Jae Crowder, both of whom are very replaceable players that the Jazz will pursue. This move allows the Jazz to not only acquire one of the leagues finest point guards, but it helps them take the next step towards a championship. This trade is a move made by a winning front office. Utah makes it very clear with this trade that they want this team to win a title, and not just sit as a 4th seed team and lose in the first or second round every year. This trade also attracts the interest from free agents around the league. Names like Bobby Portis and Jeremy Lamb have come up as names of interest as the Jazz look to complete a successful offseason. Overall this is a winning decision, made by a winning team. This was a smart move, and helped the Jazz gain relevance in the western conference, as the top spot remains potentially open with the downfall of the Warriors. Utah certainly makes a case for a top team in the west, and now has a team that stacks up against the Thunder, Rockets, Trail Blazers and Nuggets.
Why the Grizzlies win
Memphis had made it very clear to their fans for some time now that the franchise player in Mike Conley, was on his way to a new home. Following the trade of Marc Gasol to the Raptors, it seemed Conley’s departure was imminent. Conley’s hefty contract made him a player Memphis had needed to trade, if they wanted to escape mediocrity and begin a rebuild. Memphis’ acquisitions of Jae Crowder and Kyle Korver make little sense, however Grayson Allen and Darius Bazley are two players that will be able to help Jaren Jackson Jr., Delon Wright and the rest of the young Grizzlies squad as they seek to regain their status. Grayson Allen is perhaps the best piece in this trade. In case you forgot, Allen dropped 40 points in the Jazz final regular season game against the Clippers. Grayson Allen proved in that game that he can score in the NBA. Despite only averaging five points per game on the season, Allen reacted very well to minutes increases. Darius Bazley should also be a great piece for the Grizzlies, he’s been a solid player in college, and seems to be very NBA ready. Overall the Grizzlies shed a big contract, and trade it for a few potentially nice rebuilding assets.
Winner: Mike Conley
Mike Conley benefits huge from this trade. Despite having to leave Memphis, the team he was drafted to many years ago. Conley was actually the longest tenured player with his original team prior to his trade. This trade gives Conley a rebirth, and a chance to do what he does best. Win. Conley has been a part of the Grizzlies many deep playoff runs, and has plenty of playoff experience. Now this experience will be useful again, as the Jazz are a sure lock for the playoffs, especially with this trade. Conley said last year he felt awkward in Memphis with the new low expectations that were placed on the Grizzlies, now Conley’s expectations are back to where he’s used to them being. Mike Conley needs to win, this rejuvenation will maybe hurt Conley on the stat sheet, but it’ll give Conley a chance to help a team in their quest to win a championship in the latter-half of his career.
Loser: Jae Crowder
Jae Crowder is an aging player who wants nothing more than to win games. Crowder has played for winning franchises for pretty much his whole career, so his new role on the Grizzlies will be very limited. The Grizzlies will have little reason to call Crowder off the bench. Memphis will be focused on developing players like Delon Wright, Jaren Jackson, Jonas Valanciunas and Grayson Allen. On the bright side this will probably be the easiest 7 million dollars this guy has ever earned.
Winner: Kyle Korver
Kyle Korver is likely going to be bought out by the Grizzlies, who only acquired Korver in order to balance the money exchange in this deal. Kyle Korver is on the last year of his contract, and will be paid by the Grizzlies 7 million dollars not to play for them, following this, Korver is expected to sign with the Lakers. That’s an easy 3 million dollar bonus in Korver’s favor. Korver will get to go to the Lakers where he will be used, and have a chance to win a championship with his old pal Lebron James.
Loser: The City of Memphis
The City of Memphis has officially lost it’s finest athlete. With Conley’s departure, Grizzlies fans are going to be waiting a long time before they see a playoff berth once again. While the future may be bright, Grizzlies fans do have dark days ahead of them.
Breaking it down
So in general, this trade was a clear win for the Jazz. While they did give up solid pieces, they acquired a superstar in Mike Conley at a very reasonable price. The Jazz only take on a bit of cap space, as they trade away a few bad contracts, for Conley. Donovan Mitchell will be able to learn a lot from Conley, and Conley will be able to help the Jazz in so many ways. The Grizzlies should’ve looked for more when trading Conley, there was way more potential for this deal to help Memphis much more. It seems like the Grizzlies are targeting specific players though, with Marc Gasol being traded for a bunch of seemingly average players.