Omari Sankofa II of The Athletic:
“I don’t understand why Mike is in those talks either,” Gasol said. “Mike is one heck of a player, and we’re going to need good players moving forward. I don’t understand why Mike is in this.”
That’s a weird comment from Gasol, who might not be long for Memphis himself. It speaks to how deeply he connects with the Grizzlies.
Conley – and Gasol – are in trade talks because they’re old and expensive players on a team slipping way out of playoff contention. There might be particularly urgency to move Gasol before he can become a free agent next summer.
Gasol and Conley led Memphis in its beautifully ugly Grit & Grind era. But the Grizzlies obviously are no longer maintaining a level of satisfactory success. It might be time to stop chasing winning in the present and get a head-start on rebuilding around Jaren Jackson Jr.
Grizzlies owner Robert Pera informing Gasol and Conley of these negotiations makes me more confident than ever the players will actually get traded. Most owners wouldn’t risk alienating players who end up staying.
Perhaps, Pera is just that committed to transparency. Gasol and Conley have earned it, and I trust their professionalism amid potential transition.
If Pera is keeping that open of communication with Gasol and Conley despite true uncertainty whether they’ll be dealt, kudos to him. But that’s just usually not how it works.