Tag: contract extension

Image (1) mike_conley-thumb-250x375-22041.jpg for post 6292

The Mike Conley contract may not be quite as horrible as we thought


Let’s get this out there up front — the Mike Conley contract is still a bad one.

But it might not be as horrible as we first thought last night. Ronald Tillery, writing at a Commercial Appeal blog, had the contract breakdown for Conley’s deal.

1) The contract kicks in for the 2011-12 season, starting at roughly $6.5 million. With the maximum 10.5-percent raises allowed, the increases will look something like $7.18 (year 2), $7.9 (year 3), $8.76 (year 4) and $9.68 (year 5). There is no doubt (even with a new CBA) that Conley would have received an offer starting at least $6 million.

2) The only way Conley can exceed $40 million (i.e. the $45 million that national media was given by Conley’s agent)  is for him to produce what was described to me as “elite level PG statistics” AND the Griz must be winning 50-plus regular-season games AND having success in the playoffs. That means the bonus package is tied to individual and team greatness.

3) Another win/win is that there is deferred money in the deal. That’ll help the Grizzlies’ cash flow when their payroll is enormous. Zach Randolph came to Memphis with deferred money, which made it a little easier to absorb his contract.

The underlying issue of whether this should have been done in the first place remains. I’ll politely disagree with Tillery — the only way Conley gets a $6 million a year offer is if he continues his statistics from the first three games of this season through an entire season. If he reverts to the form of the last three seasons, he’s likely more around $5 million at best. Then there is the question of five years for a guy that has yet to play a quality stretch of basketball deserving that length of deal.

Bottom line, Conley was the perfect guy to make a restricted free agent — let the market set his value, and the Grizzlies could just match. The only reason to sign a guy to an early extension is if he is too valuable to lose (Kevin Durant) or you can lock him up under market value (Rajon Rondo last year). This deal meets neither criterion.

But it’s not quite as bad as we thought.

Grizzlies give Mike Conley five-year, $45 million extension. We have no idea why.


For the first three years of his career, Mike Conley has been a nice point guard, but not one who lived up to his lofty draft status and not one who looked like the future at the one in Memphis.

Through this preseason and three games that count he has looked much better as a playmaker and leader.

So that is worth $45 million to Memphis.

The Grizzlies and Conley reached a deal just before the extension deadline to keep Conley a member of the Grizzlies for five more years at $45 million, according to ESPN’s Chris Broussard.

This move, combined with the max deal given Rudy Gay this summer, make Gay and Conley the future of the Grizzlies. They now have $20 million or more a season locked up in these two for the next four years at least (until Gay can opt out). Learn to love it Grizzlies fans. These are your guys.

Conley started to be more aggressive near the end of last season and so far this season has been doing a better job setting up teammates and running the pick-and-roll. In his first three seasons with the Grizzlies he looked like a backup, last season scoring 12 points a game on 45 percent shooting and getting five assists a game. Nice, but not thrilling. This season so far he has looked like a starter — 15 points, eight assists and nearly four steals a game. Jerry West said recently this is what he expected out of Conley.

Still, is that enough to lock him down for the next five years? A month ago these two sides were not even talking. If they did not sign him Conley would have become a restricted free agent at the end of the season and Memphis would have had the right to match any offer. And with a new Collective Bargaining Agreement and the past three years, it is highly unlikely Conley gets an offer anywhere near this level on the open market. The Grizzlies were bidding against themselves and went big.

Conley is their man. They believe in him. They had better hope that the start of this season is not an aberration because now they are married to him for a while.