The New York Knicks are favorites to sign point guard Mike Conley Jr. in free agency later this summer, according to a latest ESPN report.
The Knicks are still seeking a quality floor general. They have been linked to the likes of Brandon Jennings, Ty Lawson and Jeff Teague but Conley Jr. is their No. 1 target heading into the off-season. Conley Jr. is the only player from the quartet who warrants a maximum-level contract. And luckily for the Knicks, they will have enough cap space to make a push this summer.
“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,” wrote ESPN’s Mike Mazzeo.
Surely, the Knicks present a more viable option for Conley Jr. The Nets (14-40) are out of playoff contention and have very little hopes of turning things around next season. The Knicks, on the other hand, have been bolstered by the emergence of rookie sensation Kristaps Porzingis.
Conley, a fringe all-star ever since he was drafted with the No. 4 pick in 2007, will be an instant upgrade to Jose Calderon and rookie Jerian Grant. Also, Conley’s ability to defend at the perimeter would bode well for the Knicks who need a lot of help in the area.
Not bothered by Fisher’s firing
Would Knicks’ decision to fire coach Derek Fisher impact Conley’s thought process? “I don’t think it will. At the end of the day, I’ll give everybody the same attention, regardless of the situation, and just hear everything out,” the point guard said ahead of the Grizzlies-Nets game on Wednesday.
Conley thrived under coach Lionel Hollins, who guided the Grizzlies to the Western Conference Finals a few years ago. Last month, Hollins was fired as the coach of the Nets. One wonders if this would keep Conley away from Brooklyn. “It’s tough (when coaches get fired). But at the same time, like I said, I’ll give everybody their fair shot. With Lionel being here, obviously, it was a big reason to look [at the Nets]. But still, at the same time, with him gone, I’ll give everybody the same look,” said the former Ohio State product.
Conley, 28, is averaging 14.8 points and 6.1 assists this season. “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 while addressing his mindset heading into the forthcoming 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 compete with the Cleveland Cavaliers.