As the trade deadline approaches, the Utah Jazz have made an offer to the Memphis Grizzlies involving Ricky Rubio and a 2019 first-round pick for point guard Mike Conley, The Salt Lake Tribune has learned.
The Grizzlies didn’t immediately accept the offer, though considered it in the context of other pitches that they’ve been getting for Conley from other teams around the league. Memphis says it has received offers including better first-round picks than the Jazz’s — currently slated to be the No. 19 pick — from teams around the league. One team reportedly also interested in Conley is the Detroit Pistons, sources said.
As a result, the Jazz may have to weigh whether or not to include additional picks or assets if they choose to acquire Conley before Thursday’s trade deadline.
Conley is averaging 20.2 points per game this season on 43.3 percent shooting from the field and 35.9 percent shooting from 3-point range. He also averages 6.3 assists per game.
The 31-year old Conley is owed $30.5 million this season, $32.5 million next season, and $34.5 million in 2020-21. Rubio, though, is owed just $14.9 million for this season before his contract expires at the end of June.
The NBA requires that incoming and outgoing salaries are within certain percentages of each other for teams operating over the cap. For the Jazz to make up the difference between Conley’s and Rubio’s salary, the team would have to add in just over $9 million in salary to any deal. Derrick Favors ($16.9 million) or Dante Exum ($9.6 million) would do the trick.
Perhaps more likely, though, is an assortment of players that includes Thabo Sefolosha’s deal ($5.2 million), plus any two of the following low salaried players that add up to more than $4 million: Ekpe Udoh ($3.3 million), Raul Neto ($2.1 million), Grayson Allen ($2.0 million), Tony Bradley ($1.6 million), or Georges Niang ($1.5 million).
Atlanta Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce was an assistant coach of Conley’s from 2011 to 2013.
“We were in the playoffs, we went to the Western Conference Finals that year, and I’ll tell you what: if Mike Conley’s not on that team, there’s no playoffs. Forget conference finals, there’s no playoffs,” Pierce said. “It’s tough for a lot of guys who are doing everything their team is asking for them and producing the results that you need for your team.”
Nikola Mirotic also a target
The Jazz are also interested in acquiring Pelicans big man Nikola Mirotic before Thursday’s deadline, The Tribune has learned. The Pelicans are asking teams for a first round pick for Mirotic and his expiring contract, according to the Sporting News, but it’s yet to be determined whether or not they’ll get it, as he’s only under contract for two more months. The Sporting News also reports that the Philadelphia 76ers are interested in Mirotic.
Mirotic was a target for the Jazz in the middle of last season, but eventually Chicago chose to trade him to New Orleans, not Utah. The big man is averaging career highs in scoring (16.7 points per game) and rebounding (8.3 rebounds per game) for the Pelicans this season.