Rumor: Miami Heat will target Mike Conley in trade

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Memphis jumped up the NBA Draft Lottery to the No. 2 slot and with that have made no secret they plan to take point guard Ja Morant out of Murray State.

Around the league, that has fired up the Mike Conley trade speculation again. Memphis tested the trade waters with him at the deadline last February — when the team traded Marc Gasol — and had talks with Utah, Indiana, and Detroit, but decided to pull back on the deal. Now the rumors are heating up again with those three teams still interested plus other potential suitors such as Phoenix, and maybe teams that strike out in the Anthony Davis sweepstakes.

Throw the Miami Heat in the mix, reports Sean Deveney of The Sporting News.

Miami missed the playoffs last season but does not want to rebuild, they want to pick up veterans and make a push not just into the bottom of the playoff bracket but farther up the East standings. Conley could help them do that, he averaged 21.1 points per game last season, shot 36.4 percent from three, dished out 6.4 assists a game, in a strong floor general and a good defender. He’s a borderline All-Star point guard, he would be a massive upgrade for Miami from Goran Dragic (who has a $19 million player option for next season everyone expects him to pick up).

The challenge with Conley he will be 32 in just as the season starts, he does have an injury history (he has missed 37 percent of his games the past four seasons, although he did play 70 last season), and he is very expensive making $32.5 million next season and has a $34.5 million early-termination option for the 2020-21 season that he certainly will pick up.

Miami could put together a package using with Ryan Anderson/Hassan Whiteside/Dragic as salary ballast, but the question is what else has to go into the deal to make it work for Memphis. Likely the No. 13 pick in this draft, and/or a player such as Bam Adebayo. Would Miami still do it then?

Even if they do, is that better than a Utah or Detroit offer for Conley? Either way, the Grizzlies will have options as they look to jump-start the rebuilding process around Jaren Jackson Jr. and Morant.