SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – The Utah Jazz have made a blockbuster trade to get the point guard they wanted.
As first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Jazz have acquired point guard Mike Conley from the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for Jae Crowder, Kyle Korver, Grayson Allen and this year’s first round draft pick, the 23rd overall.
The Jazz will also send a protected 2020 first round draft pick to the Grizzlies.
The deal will become official on July 6.
Conley, who will turn 32 in October, who has played all 12 seasons of his NBA career in Memphis, averaged 21.1 points, 6.4 assists and 3.4 rebounds per game this past season.
Conley tweeted his reaction Wednesday.
Last season, Conley averaged 21.1 points and 6.4 points per game. He finishes as the Grizzlies’ career leader in points (11,733), assists (4,509), 3-pointers (1,086) and games played (788).
For his career, Conley shoots 44.1 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from 3-point range.
Injuries have been a concern for Conley. Two years ago, he played in just 12 games with a foot injury, but responded by playing in 70 games for the Grizzlies last year.
Conley is signed through the 2020-21 season with base salaries of $32.5 million and $34.5 million, respectively, the next two seasons.
Jazz leading scorer Donovan Mitchell was sad to see some of friends leave the team, but is also excited to play with one of the top point guards in the league.
“I’ve heard nothing but great things about Mike,” Mitchell told USA Today. “I’m sad Grayson, who is a good friend of mine and Jae and Kyle as well, that they’re going. But with what we’re getting in Mike, he’s a great player. He’s very underrated in my opinion, and also I can learn a lot from him as far as being a point guard and playing the pick and roll.”
Play-by-play broadcaster Craig Bolerjack thinks this is a great trade for the Jazz.
“What this does is it’s going to make Donovan better,” Bolerjack said. “It’s going to make the rest of this team better in the sense of the pace of the game. He’s a defender that will fit into Quin’s system just perfectly. It’s rolling the dice. It’s a win now attitude in the front office.”
This also means the end of Ricky Rubio’s time in Utah. The point guard spend the last two seasons with the Jazz, but is now an unrestricted free agent.
Rubio tweeted his reaction to the trade.
“Ricky had moments, and Ricky then had down moments,” Bolerjack said. “I think the word to use here is consistency, and I believe that’s what the Jazz get in Conley.”
Crowder has been a major part of the Jazz rotation since being acquired from Cleveland midway through the 2017-18 season. In 80 games last season, Crowder averaged 11.9 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.7 assists in 27.1 minutes per game.
Crowder reacted to the trade on Instagram.
With the loss of Crowder, the Jazz will probably pick up their team option on Derrick Favors for $16.9 million. However, they could waive Favors, who has been with the team for eight seasons, and use his money to sign another player or two.
Korver, 38, was expected to retire at the end of last season, but apparently has had a change of heart and plans to play at least one more year. A 3-point specialist, Korver averaged 8.6 points last season, while shooting 39.7 percent from beyond the arc, but struggled with a knee injury at the end of the season.
Allen, last year’s first round draft pick with the 21st overall selection saw playing time towards the end of the regular season, capped by a 40-point game against the Clippers.
With Conley’s salary, the Jazz will not have enough room under the salary cap to sign a big free agent. They will have approximately $4.7 million to spend on a mid-level exception.
The Jazz projected starting lineup now includes Mike Conley, Donovan Mitchell, Joe Ingles, Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors.
“Change is always difficult, but my sense of today is that there is an excitement, a renewed enthusiasm about taking the next step,” Bolerjack said. “You have to show Donovan and Rudy that the direction of the team is going up. The trade for Conley today sends an incredible message, not only to Donovan and Gobert, but to Jazz nation that hey look, we’re ready to make a move and be a major player, not just a player, but a major player in the West.”
After Conley originally tweeted about being excited to join the “city of Utah,” Mitchell responded with a tweet giving his new teammate a hard time.