Let’s face it…
The biggest problem that I have had with acquiring Mike Conley is his two-fold expense: what it would cost to acquire him, and what it would cost in regards to salary.
Expectations for the Grizzlies were high heading into this season since both Conley and Marc Gasol sat out the vast majority of last year but returned to full health this season while also adding rookie Jaren Jackson.
Unfortunately (or fortunately?) for them, things haven’t quite worked out as planned and they once again own the second worst record in the West, while also paying Conley way more than he is worth.
So, from opponent’s perspectives, the best offer they might receive from anywhere in the league is the conditional first round pick of the Milwaukee Bucks that Phoenix currently owns, (plus Ryan Anderson and Dragan Bender to make the contracts work), although if I am Phoenix I start the negotiations with a second round pick, all just to get out from under Conley’s salary and provide at least some cap relief this season, which much more in 2020.
My bigger issue though has been that the Suns would then have to also pay Conley’s $30+ million salary for each the next two years – after 2018-19 finishes up.
For the longest time I said absolutely not because it kills their cap freedom in free agency until his contract expires.
But to that I know say: who the hell are they going to get anyway?
While a player most often cannot say no to a trade, the kinds of free agents the Suns really need are neither plentiful nor likely to ever select Phoenix at this point over, well, the other 29 teams in the league.
So if they’ve got the ability to take on a contract like this, why not take on Conley’s and if another star player really wants to come to Phoenix, Suns ownership can just find a way to creatively acquire that player.
I hate to be so pessimistic about it, but check out the free agency list: who are they really going to have a shot at who will not only make a difference but even potentially turn the franchise around?
At this point the Suns are desperate for a point guard and veteran star to take pressure off of Devin Booker, and while Conley isn’t a perennial all-star, he might be the perfect addition to a team in desperate need, at least for the time being.