Mike Conley trade
The Jazz truly started the offseason with a bang. Picking right back up from where they left trade talks in the winter, Utah was able to execute a swap with Memphis’ new regime.
To get a good backcourt running mate for Donovan Mitchell, the Jazz forked over Grayson Allen, Jae Crowder, Kyle Korver, their 2019 first-round pick and a first in 2020 (protected 1-7 and 15-30 in 2020 and 2021, lightly protected from 2022-24).
Effectively the Jazz forked over two depth pieces, two firsts and a depleted asset (Allen) for Mike Conley.
The man who’s famously never made the All Star Game, it goes without saying that Conley gets snubbed from the spotlight. He’s been an excellent player in Memphis for several years, teetering on stardom in his own unique way.
Over the past six seasons (350 games), the lefty has averaged 18.1 points and 6.0 assists with .442/.375/.842 shooting splits. He battled injuries in a few of those seasons, missing the majority of the 2017-18 campaign, but was extremely effective when healthy.
In Utah he’s an awesome fit. He and Mitchell will share the ball-handling roles, taking a load off the latter in a way Ricky Rubio never could. Conley’s above-average shooting will help tremendously, opening the offense for Mitchell and Rudy Gobert to do their work.
Gobert is a huge beneficiary too; Conley is one of the best pick-and-roll initiators in the game. Among the 25 players to run at least seven PNRs per game last season, Conley ranked sixth in efficiency (0.96 points per possession).
That was with 33- and 34-year-old Marc Gasol as his roll man; now he can dish to the Frenchman who paced the league in efficiency in that play (minimum 3.0 PNRs per game) at 1.35 PPP.
Now at any given time, the Jazz will have one of Conley or Mitchell on the floor. That will open up the offense tremendously.
At the same time, however, they paid a pretty penny to make it happen. Conley is the right complement for Mitchell, but he only has two years left and is on the wrong side of 30.
The second pick won’t convey for a while, but it’s still two firsts for an aging, injury-prone player. Crowder’s reputation soured at the end in Utah, but he’s still of value around the league. Korver provided valuable spacing and has aged well.
That being said, it’s a price the Jazz had to be willing to pay. They needed a shake-up, and Conley needed a new team. It’s an excellent basketball fit.