Mike Conley is undoubtedly the most prized point guard in the summer’s free agency class. And though the Memphis Grizzlies can offer him the most lucrative contract, Conley is expected to test the market, with the New York Knicks emerging as the favorites to nab him next month.
According to a league source, the Knicks feel they have a legitimate shot at getting Conley, seeing as they are one of the few teams in free agency with a genuine need for a starting-caliber point guard.
Mike Conley: New York’s top target
ESPN’s Ian Begley has reported that Knicks view Conley and Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson as prime targets this summer. “The club will have at least $18 million to spend in the offseason, and could also explore the trade market to acquire a guard. They and any other team with needs in the backcourt will have interest in free agent Mike Conley. Restricted Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson also has fans in the Knicks organization, but it seems as if Los Angeles will retain the second-year player.”
Do note that Clarkson is a restricted free agent and the Lakers are expected to match any and all offer sheets that he receives. However, Conley is expected to grant interviews to interested suitors before making his decision.
Earlier this year, ESPN’s Mike Mazzeo revealed that Conley would prefer to go to the Knicks or the Brooklyn Nets. “A source close to Conley believes the Memphis Grizzlies point guard will be more receptive to playing for the Knicks and Nets than most think.”
An upgrade from Calderon, Grant
Conley, a borderline all-star ever since he was drafted No. 4 back in 2007, will be an instant upgrade to Jose Calderon, who owns a player option, and sophomore guard Jerian Grant. New York has also been linked with the likes of Brandon Jennings (unrestricted free agent), Jeff Teague (on the last year of his contract with Atlanta Hawks) and former Knicks guard Jeremy Lin.
In February, Conley was asked what would influence his thought-process. “I want to win. That’s what I want to do at the end of the day, wherever that may be. So hopefully, when that time comes, I’ll have a better vision on what I want and what I want going forward in the summer, but right now, I’m all about winning, and I want to be somewhere that’s committed to doing that,” Conley said of his mindset heading into free agency.
Mike Conley Jr. would be a welcome addition for New York Knicks. A Big Three of Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Prozingis and Conley Jr. could prove enough to make them a playoff team again.