The Grizzlies and point guard Michael Conley struck a last-minute deal lastnight night that will pay the 23-year-old up to $45 million over five seasons.
Part of me is almost awestruck. The other part of me isn’t surprised considering this is the same Grizzlies team that traded away arguably one of the best power forwards in the game in Pau Gasol for peanuts. The same Grizzlies team that gave Rudy Gay 80 million bucks on the first day of 2010 free agency.
It’s funny too, because I remember there being a few people who actually considering the Gasol trade a good one, for Memphis. Laughable. “But they got tons of cap room!”
Well, there goes your cap room.
Bottom line is, Conley ranks amongst the bottom third of the league’s starting point guards (as of right now) and he’s now set to make more in average salary than Jason Kidd, Mo Williams, Jameer Nelson and Andre Miller, and he’ll earn the same as Devin Harris.
Conley is having a career year – after three measly games and has been rewarded handsomely. I get he’s posting career highs in scoring (15 PPG), rebounds (5.7) and assists (8.3). I get he’s leading the league in steals (3.67 SPG). I don’t get why the Grizzlies were in such a rush to overpay him.
The Grizzlies should have him enter restricted free agency during a time of great collective bargaining uncertainty and gotten a look at what the market might have paid him.
I can assure you teams wouldn’t be willing to throw the kind of money at Conley that the Grizzlies have. Well, maybe if keeps up his current level of play but that’s one really big if.
It’s no surprise this extension is being labeled as “franchise suicide” by many. Especially when you consider that Marc Gasol is going to be looking for an extension as well. Zach Randolph could also be looking for a new deal. Also, O.J. Mayo is due an extension after next season.
Gasol and Mayo are better than Conley. If Conley’s deal costs the Grizzlies either player, it becomes much more problematic than it already is.
Chris Wallace makes the Clippers organization look smart.