Memphis has talked about building for the future. Rudy Gay is the anchor for that, with his new max extension this summer. Marc Gasol will be in the middle of that. O.J. Mayo and Hasheem Thabeet are on their rookie deals but could be in Memphis for a long time.
Mike Conley may not be — he and the Grizzlies have not even started talking about an extension to his deal nor are their plans to, according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal.
It looks likely that the Grizzlies will instead extend a qualifying offer to Conley (nearly $6.5 million for next season) and have the right to match any deal he can get from another team. Since it is unlikely that any team would offer anything close to the $6.5 million, it is entirely possible Conley comes back for another season.
But that is not how Conley is looking at it.
“My focus is me coming out with a chip on my shoulder regardless of whether I’m signed or not,” Conley said. “I’m going to play as if I was somebody working to get a contract and help make this a winning team. If we win and I do my job, then I’ll get signed eventually, from whomever.”
Conley has never been terrible, he’s been okay. Nice. He can shoot the three but he is not a great playmaker (especially when Mayo is better in that role, although an experiment with him at the point in Summer League had mixed results) and his defense has never been great. Late in games, it would not be shocking to see the defensive-minded Tony Allen playing the point.
Conley is basically a backup PG starting in Memphis because he is the best they have. But not getting him an extension suggests they have grander plans.