Knicks Free Agency 2016: Mike Conley Jr. isn’t expecting anything less than a max contract when he enters free agency this summer. The New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets have emerged as frontrunners to land the elite point guard, who is expected to leave Memphis Grizzlies to pursue greener pastures.
Recently, a source close to the guard revealed that “it wouldn’t be surprising” to see Conley leave for a big pay day from either Knicks or Nets. Lionel Hollins, who coached Conley as a head coach for four-plus seasons in Memphis, says his old floor general will be looking for nothing less than max money. “I don’t know if Michael looks elsewhere (besides Memphis) but that might end up being the best move. Mike is at that crossroads where he’s (28) years old. He’s coming up on a contract year,” the veteran coach said recently on SiriusXM radio.
Major pay day coming…
The Knicks and Nets, besides other suitors, can offer the guard a four-year max deal that starts at $25 million with annual raises up to 4.5 percent. Of course, Memphis can still offer Conley the most money, with a five-year contract that starts at $25 million with annual raises up to 7.5 percent.
“He wants to get paid. Will Memphis pay him as much as somebody else? If he can get to a situation that has a future of winning or is he going to go to a team that doesn’t have a future of winning? That’s probably going to be important to him as well,” added Hollins.
Big Three Split
A year ago, Conley, Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph had expressed their desire to make a long-term commitment to Memphis. This, after reaching five consecutive postseasons including the 2013 Western Conference Finals. By the start of next season, it’s likely that only Gasol stays put. Randloph, signed on until 2016-17, is most likely to be traded by the summer.
With Gasol suffering a season-ending injury, there is very little hope for Memphis to make any noise in the postseason. They will, most likely, suffer a first round defeat to Oklahoma City Thunder or Los Angeles Clippers. Therefore, Hollins reckons Mike Conley could be looking elsewhere. New York haven’t landed any big names for a while. But all that could change in Knicks Free Agency 2016
“It comes down to, this is your life. This is your opportunity (to make some money). You have the hammer in your hand and you have to wield it because you may never get it again. The reality is you have to do what’s best for your family and the future. And if somebody comes around and offers Michael $18 million and Memphis can’t match, I think you have to make those decisions from that perspective,” concluded Hollins.
Mike Conley would make an instant impact for the Knicks, who are still desperate for a floor general. Despite bearing Carmelo Anthony’s massive contract, they will have enough space to offer Conley a max deal.
Stay tuned for more on Knicks Free Agency 2016.