Jazz guard Mike Conley‘s tone changed over the last several months, as he approaches unrestricted free agency.
Conley in February, via Tony Jones of The Athletic:
“Utah’s got me,” Conley said. “I was talking about this to my wife recently. We love it here. I don’t think I can go anywhere else that plays the way we play. We’ll see this offseason, because when that time comes there will definitely be a lot of chatter.
Conley in June, via Ryan Miller of KSL.com:
“Well, obviously, you know how I feel about our team and the city and the fans,” Conley said Saturday. “It’s been just a wonderful two years. Definitely an up-and-down two years, but wonderful — regardless of how it ended last night. Free agency is free agency; it’s the business we live in. It’s something I have to sit back and consider with my family and, when that time comes, make the decision that’s best for us and myself.”
Though his later comments didn’t convey nearly as much confidence about staying in Utah, which definitely wants to keep him, Conley now appears more likely to re-sign.
League sources tell The Athletic that All-Star point guard Mike Conley is likely to stay with the Jazz once free agency opens, but the price tag won’t be a cheap one.
Utah has made retaining Mike Conley its top priority, league sources say, and is preparing a three-year offer said to be in the $75 million range.
I wonder whether this was one of those negotiations that played out before free agency officially begins.
That’d put the Jazz about $14 million into the luxury tax, which would correspond to a near-$27 million tax payment.
But the Jazz’s window is open around Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell. That’s why keeping Conley is such a priority. If Conley leaves, capped-out Utah would have no suitable way to replace him (only the mid-level exception).
Bogdanovic and Ingles are also helpful, albeit expensive, contributors. Keeping all three rather than dumping more salary is the Jazz’s best path to winning.
It’ll cost, though.