Mike Conley says paperwork almost cost him $40 million contract


We’ve all struggled to meet financial deadlines. Bills, student loan payments, car payments. Sometimes you forget to fill out a timesheet and you have to wait until the next one to get your dough. It happens to the best of us, but never in the way it almost happened to Memphis Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley.

Although he is now a 12-year veteran, Conley was just a third-year player heading into his fourth when he signed an extension off his rookie deal in 2010. Conley was offered a 5-year, $40 million deal and after signing the extension, Conley slowly became one of the best values in the NBA.

But it almost didn’t happen.

Speaking on Zach Lowe’s podcast this week, Conley told a story about when he was mere minutes away from botching his paperwork for the contract.

The NBA has a hard deadline, and Conley was stuck waiting behind people at a hotel front desk as he tried to fax his signed documents over to the respective parties.

He came this close to not getting his $40 million.


“We were in the W Hotel in Westwood. I’m sitting in my room and I get called down at like 8:55 p.m. or whatever it is, 7:55 p.m. something like that, and they’re like, ‘You have to go downstairs you got to sign this stuff and you’ve got to fax it.’

I run down the steps; there’s two people in line in front of me [at the front desk]. People are getting their keys, or doing whatever they got to do. I’m sweating like, ‘These people gotta move, there’s no way I can just let this happen.’

So then I creep my way up and I need to get this faxed, right right now. [Memphis Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace] is on the phone like, ‘We still haven’t got it yet! We haven’t got it yet!’ and time’s running down.

I popped it in [the fax machine] a minute before the deadline.”

Kudos to Conley for not playing his NBA player card and making a scene. It would take serious restraint from just about any person who had $40 million on the line not to do exactly that given the circumstances.

Of course, Conley’s next contract was even bigger. In 2016 the veteran guard signed a five-year, $153 extension to stay with the Grizzlies through at least 2019-20.