Mike Conley is already getting targeted by opposing fans over the five-year, $152.6MM contract he signed with the Grizzlies this offseason, Mitch Lawrence of the Sporting News reports. The Grizzlies point guard knows the unwanted attention comes with signing such a big contract but he’s taking it in stride, Lawrence continues. “It doesn’t bother me at all,” Conley told Lawrence. “When I hear the talk, when I look on my phone and see messages on Twitter about it, it really pushes me, to be honest. … I almost look forward to playing on the road, for that very reason.” Conley used an offer by the Mavericks as leverage and ended up with an extra $40MM, Lawrence adds.
In other news around the Southwest Division:
- New Grizzlies coach David Fizdale gave Zach Randolph a detailed explanation of why he wanted the veteran power forward to come off the bench this season, according to Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders. Fizdale was looking for another scorer on the second unit, Scotto continues. “He explained to me what he wanted to do and have more firepower coming off the bench,” Randolph told Scotto. “He needed me to play that role so I said, ‘Okay.’ I took it with a grain of salt, kept it moving, whatever you want me to do.” Randolph is making $10.36MM in the final year of his contract and Scotto anticipates Randolph will land another eight-figure salary when he enters unrestricted free agency.
- The Spurs found themselves a bargain in free agency with the addition of center Dewayne Dedmon, Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer opines. Dedmon was signed to a two-year, $6MM to help replace Tim Duncan and he has delivered, averaging 5.9 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in 17.1 minutes during the first five games. Dedmon’s skills as a rim runner, rebounder and shotblocker will prove useful when San Antonio reaches the postseason, Tjarks adds.
- Spurs coach Gregg Popovich doesn’t feel like his organization fleeced the Pacers with their 2011 draft night trade in which they landed Kawhi Leonard while shipping out point guard George Hill, Michael C. Wright of ESPN.com relays. San Antonio wound up with a franchise player but Hill had productive years with Indiana before he was traded to the Jazz this offseason. “It was what Indiana needed, and it was what we needed, and it worked out,” Popovich told Wright. “A lot of trades, one team will say, ‘Oh, we killed them on that trade. We got the better end of that.’ That’s just childish. It was a good trade for both teams.”