Report: Mike Conley expected to leave Grizzlies in free agency

AP Photo/Seth Wenig
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Dave Joerger was reportedly on the hot seat early this season.

But the Grizzlies played better, and then massive amounts of injuries lowered expectations far enough that Joerger drew Coach of the Year consideration just for doing slightly better than keeping Memphis afloat.

Could his job be back on the line?

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com:

Dave Joerger is in a tough spot in Memphis with an aging roster that broke down this season and is on its way to being further depleted with the expected free-agent departure of point guard Mike Conley. There’s the potential for a breakup there, sources say.

Wait. What?

We’ll get back to Joerger, but what’s this about Conley? The point point guard – who’s out for the season – said “everything will be on the table” in free agency. So, he’ll look around. But the Grizzlies have seemed committed to keeping him, and Marc Gasol was already recruiting. Is Conley really expected to leave Memphis, his only NBA team? I still have trouble believing it, but Berger is well connected and reliable.

With Conley’s and all the other injuries, the Grizzlies lost a chance to send him into free agency on a positive note. They got routed by the Spurs in Game 1, and it’s hard to see this skeleton crew challenging San Antonio in the next three games.

The 28-year-old Conley is three years younger than Gasol and six years younger than Zach Randolph and Tony Allen. Conley might not see an ideal future with this aging squad, and he could bolt for a team with a window as open as his.

If Memphis still wants to keep him, it should prepare a max contract. I’d be shocked if Conley doesn’t receive max offers, and the extra year and higher raises could separate the Grizzlies. So could his experience with the team.

But, more than ever, that doesn’t seem like enough.

As far as Joerger, he did well with what he was dealt this season. It’d be a strange time to drop him – but that didn’t stop the Grizzlies from going down that path before.