Memphis is opening their doors for business when it comes to the two remaining players from the Grit-and-Grind era. Could the Minnesota Timberwolves get involved in the sweepstakes?
The Memphis Grizzlies are reportedly willing to discuss moving both Marc Gasol and Mike Conley, the two remaining stars from the memorable “Grit-and-Grind” era.
While Gasol probably isn’t a viable option for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Mike Conley’s name should garner some interest. What would it cost the Wolves to land the veteran point guard?
To start, we must find the trade value of Conley, and we’ll do that by looking at trades from the past three seasons to find a trade involving a single player with a similar skill-set and current value among the league’s current teams and their wants. As of now, Conley is the league’s most sought-after player on the trade market; despite his precarious health record he is one of the more desirable mid-season trade prospects the league has seen in a while.
So much so, it’s hard to find a player to compare him to who’s been dealt, straight-up, mid-season. His current value lands him somewhere in between DeMarcus Cousins and Serge Ibaka, who were both moved before the 2017 trade deadline. Cousins was at the center of a colossal trade involving himself and Omri Casspi moving to New Orleans for Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway, and a first and second-round draft pick to the Kings. Orlando dealt Ibaka to Toronto for Terrence Ross and a first-round pick.
While Conley isn’t the young, all-world talent that Cousins was in 2017, the Kings were private with their trade intentions, denying rumors days before the trade. The Grizzlies are the opposite of private, with Conley and Gasol each confirming that they’re on the block. But teams that land somewhere on the fence between buying and selling should at least consider what it will take to get a Mike Conley, Jr. And that includes Minnesota.
So, what will it take to land Conley? Well, if prior trades are any indication, the team to get Conley is going to have to give up quite a bit. While the Grizzlies seem to have finally come to their senses and hit the rebuilding phase button, they’re still going to want something in return for Conley and will have the privilege to be picky.
Some serious potential will need to be anted.
That means so-long, Josh Okogie. Of all the players on the Wolves who aren’t named Karl-Anthony Towns, he has the highest ceiling and is the player the Grizzlies would be most interested in.
Another starter to replace Conley would also be fair game. This could be an Andrew Wiggins, but unless the Grizzlies think they can take Wiggins and put through some rigorous training program to help him reach his full potential — not to mention justify his max contract — I wouldn’t count on it.
Maybe Jeff Teague, if for some reason the Grizzlies feel the need to immediately fill the cap space shedding Conley’s contract will free up. Teague has a player option this summer, but would ultimately represent a savings for Memphis.
Perhaps the most realistic trade contender is Covington, who is easy to overlook after having spent the last month sidelined with a right knee bone bruise. Although he has no timetable to return, his contributions to the team since the Butler trade make him an attractive trade candidate.
Okogie and Covington would certainly be options, but what else would the Wolves possibly have to give up? A draft pick? Likely. First round? Probably, and maybe a second-rounder, too. But matching the salary will be the biggest issue.
If the Wolves could somehow pull off something like this, they would absolutely improve the team as well as position themselves better for the future from a salary cap perspective. But it seems unlikely that the Grizzlies would bite.
With all that said, would it even be worth it to consider a Conley trade at this point?