Report: Mike Conley won’t sign contract extension with Grizzlies

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The Grizzlies have built a strong identity behind Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph, Mike Conley and Tony Allen. Memphis is tough, defensively oriented and eager to make an impact in the paint.

But Gasol’s free agency has potential to unravel everything.

And even if the Grizzlies sweat it out and re-sign the center, they’ll have to do it all over again with Conley in 2016.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Can’t the Grizzlies, in the name of stability, try to lock up Mike Conley for the long term before he ends up on the open market like Gasol?

The Grizzlies would love to.

Sources say, furthermore, that they’ve tried to engage Conley in extension talks. More than once.

But the five-year, $40 million pact they signed Conley to in 2010 — openly second-guessed all over the NBA map at the time — proved to be too shrewd.

Conley has a base salary of $9,388,426 next season. An extension, officially signed after June 30, could start at just 107.5 percent of that and last just three years. That’d be $32,548,499 over three seasons, though the Grizzlies could offer Conley a chance to earn 15 percent more each year in incentives.

But a new contract signed in 2016 – when the salary cap will skyrocket – could be much more lucrative. Conley’s max won’t be known until that summer, but it projects to be about $145 million if he re-signs and about $108 million if he signs elsewhere.

Here’s the max Conley could get guaranteed on an extension (gold), new contract with Memphis (dark blue) and new contract elsewhere (light blue):

image

Season Extension New contract with MEM New contract elsewhere
2016-17 $10,092,558 $25,238,066 $25,238,066
2017-18 $10,849,500 $27,130,920 $26,373,779
2018-19 $11,606,442 $29,023,775 $27,509,491
2019-20 $30,916,630 $28,645,204
2020-21 $32,809,485
Average $10,849,500 $29,023,775 $26,941,635
Total $32,548,499 $145,118,877 $107,766,540

Conley probably won’t draw a max contract in the new landscape, but the potential exists for him to earn SO MUCH more on a new deal than an extension. It is a risk for someone who has put his body through so much.

It’s a bigger risk for the Grizzlies, who face yet another core player going into unrestricted free agency.

Unfortunately for Memphis, it’s also a reality of this extension-limiting Collective Bargaining Agreement.