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December 5, 2021

The Steve Jones Show:

Grizzlies & Conley Agree To NBA Record $153M deal

By Matt Moore/CBSSports.com

The Memphis Grizzlies have been widely expected to retain Mike Conley as a free agent this summer, despite interest from other teams for months. One of the only potential holdups involved what kind of money they were willing to offer Conley. Reports surfaced last week that Conley’s decision could come down to whether Memphis was willing to offer him the five-year max.

Just hours after agreeing with Chandler Parsons on a max contract, the Grizzlies proved to indeed be all in on retaining their playmaker:

That $153 million will be the largest contract in the history of the NBA. That’s obviously a lot for a player who has never been the best player, or even top three, at his position.

Yet, it makes a lot of sense.

The Grizzlies’ advantage in talks is being the only team to be able to offer that kind of contract. Conley has been their franchise star point guard and they have billed themselves as building for the short-term future with Conley and his friend Marc Gasol. Conley’s combination of game management, shooting, passing and defense means that he is not elite in any one regard to put up the kind of star performances that would identify him as a true star. But that doesn’t make him less valuable, especially to Memphis.

The Grizzlies are unlikely to be able to sign any point guard of that caliber, for any amount of money, over the next 10 years.

This deal would be less about Conley’s market worth (though other teams were willing to offer the four-year max, reportedly) and more about what he’s worth to Memphis. This also represents a monster step-up for Memphis in terms of spending. The Grizzlies now have three max players on their roster if Conley agrees to the deal. They’re still able to have about $8 million in cap space after those moves, so it’s still unlikely they wind up in the luxury tax, but this is still a major investment for Memphis, if Conley accepts it.

 

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