After finishing as the best team in the Western Conference in the regular season, the Utah Jazz failed to beat the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round of the 2021 NBA playoffs. They missed Mike Conley.
It was a solid run for the Jazz, since many didn’t see this team playing this well at the beginning of the regular season. Utah proved everyone wrong and played like an elite-level franchise.
The Jazz front office should busy this offseason, but they likely won’t make any major changes to the roster. One player to keep an eye on right now is Mike Conley, as he’s due to hit free agency. At 33 years old, Conley is in the back-end of his NBA career, but still has the talent to produce valuable minutes.
Utah should highly consider bringing him back for at least one more year, as there are too many benefits in having him in the rotation. The Jazz should still pursue a younger, more athletic point guard, but having Conley will keep the Jazz competitive next year.
With that said, here are four reasons why the Jazz must re-sign Mike Conley.
Jazz keys for Mike Conley:
He will likely agree to a cheaper contract to help the roster
With Conley’s contract at an end, the Jazz free up over $30.5 million in cap space. Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, and the rest of the major contributors are still under contract through the 2022 season, which means Utah will retain the roster that earned them the number one seed for this postseason.
Due to Conley’s age, he’s likely to sign a deal for a bit cheaper. It’s unknown what he’s expected to be worth in free agency, but due to his success with the Jazz, it’s possible Conley wants to come back for at least one more year. Since he’ll be signing a cheaper deal, this opens up the possibility for the Jazz to make a splash in free agency, which could help improve the roster even more so.
He will continue to be a veteran leader for the Jazz
Whether he’s a starter or coming off of the bench next season, Conley will provide veteran leadership to this organization. He’s played a vital role in Utah’s success as he brings a ton of experience to the table. Conley is like another coach on the floor for the Jazz and one more year of that type of leadership wouldn’t hurt.
Additionally, if Utah brings in a young point guard to the roster, Conley’s presence could be massive for the new prospect’s development. It would create depth, longevity, and keep the Jazz competitive for years to come. For this reason, bringing back Mike Conley should be a no-brainer.
The Jazz will retain the core of their roster
Utah has the chemistry and the core to make a deep run in the playoffs. Injuries were the real enemy of this team, as Donovan Mitchell played through a ton of pain throughout the postseason. Perhaps if he were healthy, Utah could have beaten the Los Angeles Clippers. If Utah can maintain this roster, then their chances of success should rise next year.
Conley will be courted, so the Jazz must react accordingly
A sign and trade scenario could very well be in the works but is last on the list as it’s a tad unlikely. Conley is still a valuable point guard that could be an asset for a team with a young rotation. The Jazz could steal a solid player to replace Conley and give themselves a better starting lineup. Look for teams like the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Lakers to show Conley some interest this offseason.