Coming off a disappointing and injury-plagued 2015-16 season that saw them swept in the first round of the playoffs, the Memphis Grizzlies have a lot of work to do this summer in order to stay relevant out west.
Their primary focus is going to be on retaining starting point guard Mike Conley, who is more than likely going to receive max-contract offers on the free-agent market.
Despite missing 26 games injury this past season, Conley is going to be one of the most highly-regarded guards on the open market with teams like the New York Knicks expected to show interest in him (more on that here).
According to ESPN’s Ian Begley, the Grizzlies are becoming increasingly concerned that Conley will indeed depart in free agency.
It could be that Conley wants to explore the opportunity that a larger market such as New York might present him. He might also see the Grizzlies aging roster with Marc Gasol (31) and Zach Randolph (34) already on the downside of their careers.
It’s also important to note that the Grizzlies have made a head coaching change, going from the widely respected Dave Joerger to David Fizdale. This could also play a role in Conley’s decision.
Conley, the No. 4 overall pick of Memphis back in 2007, is averaging 13.6 points and 5.6 assists throughout his nine-year career.
More than just basic stats, his leadership ability, willingness to run the offense and elite-level defense will make him an attractive option for many teams in free agency.