Nineteen starting point guards are playing on something other than a rookie contract right now, and beginning next season, Mike Conley will earn more than eight of them. The Grizzlies and Conley struck a last-minute deal Monday night that will pay the 23-year-old up to $45 million over five seasons. The deal kicks in next year.
The initial reaction as been a combination of laughter at the Grizzlies’ expense and rage among those who have likened the Conley extension to franchise suicide. And you can see where that is coming from, particularly since the Grizzlies could have let Conley enter restricted free agency during a time of great collective bargaining uncertainty and gotten a look at what the market might have paid him.
It’s not that Conley is a bad player. He’s not. He’s a near-40 percent three-point shooter who is off to a strong start this season and may very well improve. But when you look at that landscape of 30 starting point guards, you realize pretty quickly that Conley ranks near the bottom.
Another article from 730 Fox Sports, a Memphis Sports station is even less flattering arguing that there is not a point guard in the league they would take Conley over. According to the article’s calculation Conley is actually the 25th rated point guard, factoring in point per game, assists per game and steals per game. Among the top ten are Steve Nash, Deron Williams, Rajon Rondo and Derrick Rose.
Brandon Jennings ranks 11th is this list and he was only a rookie last year, by his third year he could climb into the top five of this list of point guards. If Mike Conley gets 9 million per year how could Jennings agent not go for the MAX or whatever the equivalent is after the CBA is renegotiated.
Bad deal, very bad deal. Bad for Memphis and bad for fans of any team with a young point guard, their guy is about to become unaffordable once their rookie deal is up.