With Mike Conley playing a significant role in leading the Grizzlies to within one game of the Western Conference Finals, Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com looks back at Conley's history in Memphis. As Shelburne writes, Conley was almost dealt to the Bucks for Ramon Sessions before Lionel Hollins took over as the Grizzlies' coach and gave Conley a vote of confidence.
"It was more than a rumor," Conley said. "My dad's also my agent and he
called me to say I wasn't playing this one game. When they tell you
that, you know it's pretty serious."
Conley's place in Memphis is certainly safe these days, and after last night's win, his team has a 3-1 lead on the defending conference champs. As we look forward to seeing whether the Grizzlies can eliminate the Thunder, let's check in on a few other items from around the West....
- Aaron Bruski of NBCSports.com and Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com (Sulia link) each provide updates on the Kings saga, with Bruski writing that the aggressive approach employed by the Seattle group in recent weeks isn't going over well with the league. Howard-Cooper, meanwhile, says Vivek Ranadive's influence in India isn't as big a factor in the NBA's decision as has been portrayed.
- New Timberwolves president Flip Saunders tells Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities (Twitter link) he's still confident that Rick Adelman will return to coach the team next season.
- Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic examines the Suns' search for a head coach, which will likely be completed within the next two weeks.
- Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com attempts to debunk the myth that top free agents aren't interested in signing with the Mavericks
Last night, Chuck Myron of Hoops Rumors rounded up a number of links addressing the potential fallout of the blockbuster trade finalized by the Grizzlies, Raptors, and Pistons. Of course, given the magnitude of the deal, plenty more reactions surfaced overnight and this morning, so we'll round many of those up right here:
- Grantland's Zach Lowe passes along a couple interesting tidbits of note related to the trade, reporting that Mike Conley and Zach Randolph are on pace to reach incentives that would increase their cap figures for next season. Lowe also says that Rudy Gay gave the Raptors no assurances that he'd pick up his 2014/15 player option.
- In the long-term, Ed Davis may be the most exciting player the Grizzlies received in the deal, but in the short-term, Tayshaun Prince's play will likely dictate how the move is judged, says Sam Amick of USA Today.
- The Celtics were never too seriously involved in talks for either Gay or Jose Calderon, a source tells Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.
- Appearing on TSN 1050 in Toronto, Bryan Colangelo said the first question Gay asked him after the deal was why Colangelo didn't draft him in the first place (Twitter link via Josh Lewenberg). The Raptors passed on Gay to draft Andrea Bargnani in 2006.
- In grading the trade for all three teams, Tom Haberstroh of ESPN.com and Matt Moore of CBSSports.com both consider the Raptors the losers, but Zach Harper of CBSSports.com makes the case for why Toronto was smart to acquire Gay.
- Chris Sheridan of Sheridan Hoops also argues that the Grizzlies and Pistons came out ahead in the deal.
- Pistons GM Joe Dumars has often talked about maintaining cap flexibility and building around the team's young core, and this trade reflected that philosophy, writes David Mayo of MLive.com.
- Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer believes the deal was a "ridiculous coup" for the Grizzlies, while Joe Goodman of the Miami Herald isn't so sure (Twitter links).
- Whether you believe the Grizzlies are that much worse than they were yesterday really hinges on your opinion of Gay as a player, writes Geoff Calkins of the Memphis Commercial Appeal.
- Henry Abbott of ESPN.com shares six thoughts on the trade.
Amid speculation that the Grizzlies are looking to trade Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph, Chris Herrington of the Memphis Flyer reports (via Twitter) that guard Mike Conley and center Marc Gasol recently met with new owner Robert Pera, where the two players reportedly urged him to keep the team's core together at least through this season.
Herrington also tweets that Grizzlies management knows it has to move either Gay or Randolph to preserve their long-term flexibility and avoid luxury tax penalties. He believes the meeting with Conley and Gasol was simply to take their pulse about the season and roster.
Let's check in on a few Wednesday updates out of the Southwest Division....