Western Notes: Conley, Valanciunas, Ayton, Mann

The Knicks, Bulls, Mavericks and Pelicans showed interest in Mike Conley during free agency but re-signing with the Jazz was an “easy” choice, as he told Sam Amick of The Athletic.

“It was an easy decision (based) on what we had built here and what I was able to be a part of last year and in the last few seasons,” he said. “Just wanted to be a part of that journey with these guys. Trying to bring a championship to a place that, you know, it’s not easy to do. I think that seeing Milwaukee win was awesome.”

Conley signed a three-year, $68MM contract that includes some incentives.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • Jonas Valanciunas has quickly emerged as a crucial player for the Pelicans, William Guillory of The Athletic writes. Valanciunas is averaging 18.2 PPG and 14.7 RPG while logging a career-high 34.3 MPG through six games. Coach Willie Green said the starters would continue to play big minutes until Zion Williamson returns. “Right now, those guys are going to play high minutes. That’s why we’re not doing much at practice,” Green said. After being acquired from Memphia, Valanciunas signed a two-year, $30.1MM extension this fall.
  • Suns coach Monty Williams isn’t worried about Deandre Ayton‘s focus even though the team didn’t reach an extension agreement with their center, Amick writes in a separate story. In fact, Williams hopes Ayton plays more selfishly as he heads toward restricted free agency. “He probably doesn’t get enough credit for how unselfish he is. We want him to be more selfish,” Williams said. “We want him to be more aggressive, but I don’t foresee that happening. The young man wants to win, and that’s what I’ve seen since I’ve been with him from Day 1.”
  • The Thunder have assigned Tre Mann, the 18th overall pick, to the G League’s Oklahoma City Blue. Head coach Mark Daigneault believes that will accelerate his development more than having him play spotty minutes with the Thunder, Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman writes. “His ability to go there, play more minutes, take on a heavier load defensively, find a little bit of rhythm offensively, settle into games a little bit more, settle into practices a little bit more is a great opportunity for him to grow,” Daigneault said. Oklahoma City also has a logjam of young guards, Mussatto notes.
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