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Reports: Grizzlies trade Mike Conley to Jazz

The Utah Jazz are the next team this summer to pull off a reported big trade.

Per Shams Charania of The Athletic and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Memphis Grizzlies are trading point guard Mike Conley to the Jazz for Grayson Allen, Kyle Korver, Jae Crowder, the No. 23 pick in the 2019 Draft and a future first-round pick.

Wojnarowski reports the Jazz will send a protected 2020 first-round pick to the Grizzlies, which will convey as a late lottery pick in 2020 or 2021 or become a lightly protected pick from 2022-24. David Cobb of The Commercial Appeal reports the first-round pick Memphis is acquiring will only convey in 2020 or ’21 if it ends up being between No. 8-14.

The deal is expected to be completed on July 6.

Conley will replace Utah’s starting point guard from the last two seasons, Ricky Rubio. Pairing Conley with rising star Donovan Mitchell figures to give the Jazz one of the best backcourts in the league next season and would seem to bolster Utah’s chances in a rapidly changing Western Conference. A former Ohio State standout, Conley has two more years left on his contract, with an early termination option in the final year.

Shortly after the reported trade came through, Conley posted the following on Twitter: “What more can I say about my city! You guys made me the man I am today! Memphis is home. Always!..Time for another chapter! Excited to give all I have to The Jazz and Salt Lake City! #LetsGetIt #GodsPlan #takenote.”

Additionally, Rubio posted the following on Twitter after the trade happened: ” … it’s time to just be happy. Being angry, sad and overthinking isn’t worth it anymore. Just let things flow. Be positive.”

The Jazz reportedly were in the hunt for Conley during the 2018-19 season, with trade talks between the sides for the guard heating up at the trade deadline. Ultimately, that deal fell through and Conley remained in Memphis. He turns 32 on Oct. 11 and played only 12 games in 2017-18 because of a painful left heel that needed season-ending surgery. But Conley returned last season to play 70 games and scored a career-best 21.1 points per game. He was just off his career highs with 6.4 assists per game and averaged 1.3 steals per game.

Overall, Conley is the Grizzlies’ all-time leader in games played, points scored, assists, steals, field goals made and 3-pointers made.

Conley was the final piece of the core that led the Grizzlies to seven consecutive playoff berths, including the 2013 Western Conference Finals. Zach Randolph and Tony Allen left in 2017 as free agents, and Memphis traded Marc Gasol to Toronto in February, splitting up a duo that had been the NBA’s longest-tenured teammates. Gasol went on to help the Raptors win their first NBA title.

This Conley-to-Utah trade comes days after another team looking to rise the ranks in the West, the Los Angeles Lakers, made perhaps the biggest blockbuster move of the offseason. Last Saturday, the New Orleans Pelicans reportedly agreed to trade superstar big man Anthony Davis to the Lakers for a combination of picks and Lakers youngsters.

Memphis now has the No. 2 overall pick in Thursday’s Draft as well as the No. 23 pick as it looks to build a team around last year’s top pick, Jaren Jackson Jr. Of the young players on the Grizzlies’ roster from last season, only backup point guard Delon Wright is a free agent this summer (and he is a restricted one).

The Grizzlies are busy rebuilding after drafting Jackson Jr. fourth overall last year. Memphis hired its new coach, Taylor Jenkins, last week having made what management called a “significant” and “long-term commitment” to Jenkins.

For the Jazz, acquiring Conley is a multi-faceted move as well. First, it all-but assures that power forward Derrick Favors will be back next as his contract becomes guaranteed after July 6. That will allow Utah to keep its big frontcourt pairing of he and defensive big man Rudy Gobert together. Second, adding Conley shores up playmaking and 3-point shooting for the Jazz — two areas that have been weak points for the team over the last two seasons.

Utah was 14th in offensive rating in 2018-19 (110.2) and second overall in defensive rating (105.2) last season, while also scoring 32.5 percent of its points off 3-pointers (which was ninth in the NBA). The Jazz made the playoffs and won 50 games in 2018-19, but lost 4-1 to the Houston Rockets in the first round of the playoffs. That was a bit of a letdown after a surprising run to the Western Conference semifinals in 2018.

Lastly, the Jazz did not have to part with oft-injured guard Dante Exum in the deal, which allows Utah to retain some backcourt depth in the wake of the reported trade. In taking on Conley in the trade, the Jazz are out of the running for the bigger names in this summer’s free agent period, which commences at 6 p.m. on June 30.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.