Jazz guard Mike Conley isn’t expected to exercise an early termination option on his $34.5MM salary for next season, but Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune suggests that he and the team could both benefit if he did. Walden notes that Conley could opt out and sign a new deal that would give him similar money in the long term while offering Utah some immediate cap flexibility.
If Conley plays out his current deal, he will be a 33-year-old unrestricted free agent next offseason and Walden estimates he can expect three-year offers in the $35MM to $40MM range. The Jazz could combine that with his current deal by offering $70MM to $75MM over four years.
That takes away any worry of an injury that could reduce Conley’s value and it cuts his 2020/21 cap figure in half, bringing it down to about $17-$19MM. That could allow Utah to use Bird Rights to re-sign Jordan Clarkson and add players with its mid-level and biannual exceptions without going into tax territory.
There’s more from the Northwest Division:
- Adding free agent forward Derrick Jones Jr. is an easy way for the Trail Blazers to improve their defense, writes Jason Quick of The Athletic. Jones is only 23 and has proven to be an excellent defender who can block shots and switch on pick and rolls. Several teams will likely have their eyes on him, so Quick believes Portland should be willing to offer its entire mid-level exception of roughly $9MM if that’s what it takes to land him.
- Carmelo Anthony is looking at a reduced role on a healthier Trail Blazers team next season and will probably search for a better opportunity in free agency, Quick adds in the same piece. Anthony saw a lot of minutes before the hiatus at power forward in place of Zach Collins, who was recovering from shoulder surgery. In Orlando, he filled in at small forward for Trevor Ariza, who opted out of the restart. They’re both expected to be in training camp, along with Rodney Hood, who suffered a torn Achilles tendon last December.
- Joe Musatto of The Oklahoman evaluates potential Thunder coaches Darvin Ham and Wes Unseld Jr. in a pair of stories.