Marc Gasol was a free agent last summer and if he had decided to leave Memphis, it would have been a massive setback for the organization. Point guard Mike Conley digitally hounded Gasol through the early summer while the big man was back in his native Spain, all but begging him to stay with the Grizzlies. Fortunately, that was never in doubt.
This coming summer, Conley is the free agent and while he’s not the name that Gasol is it would be equally devastating for Memphis. Conley may be the most underrated player in the league.
So what is Gasol doing to recruit Conley? Just being too nice, Conley told Michael Lee of Yahoo Sports.
“I’m not going to lie. He’s been nicer to me than I’ve ever seen him, so I think it’s already starting,” Conley told Yahoo with a laugh. “Normally, he’s yelling and he’s really hard on me, so he wants me to be great. I’ll make a mistake and he’ll be like, ‘Oh, that’s all right, Mike.’ Normally, he’s like, ‘Bleep! Bleep! Bleep! Bleep!’ All at me. Now, he’s smiley, laughing. I’ll make a joke about him and he won’t get mad. He’ll just laugh. I see him changing, just trying to get me to come back.”
The fact Conley worked so hard to keep Gasol, it’s hard to imagine Conley leaving. There isn’t a sense around the league he has a desire to bolt (although a few other teams will at least make a call).
On another note — and he is trying to play this down — it will be interesting to see if Conley can finally make the All-Star team this year.