After another disappointing finish to the Utah Jazz’s season — in which he was injured for much of it — Mike Conley is set to hit the open market in NBA free agency this summer. Although he was injured for most of Utah’s playoff run, he did return for the last game and contributed as much as he was physically able to.
Now having been apart of this Utah Jazz squad for the past couple of seasons, Conley may be looking for a new home after back-to-back seasons that saw the Jazz blow a huge series lead that ended with an earlier than expected playoff exit. With Mike Conley set to have plenty of suitors this summer, let’s take a look at the five best free agent destinations for him in 2021 NBA free agency.
Mike Conley trade destinations:
Los Angeles Lakers
After being plagued with injuries and inefficient play the entire second half of the season, the Los Angeles Lakers are set for a major roster overhaul this summer and one area where they’ll be looking for a huge boost is at the point guard spot. With Dennis Schroder and Alex Caruso hitting the free agent market in 2021, they’ll have a huge void to fill in their backcourt. Enter Mike Conley, a battle-hardened veteran with strong playoff experience, terrific perimeter and on-ball defense, and a high IQ playmaking ability.
He would form a great veteran trio with LeBron James and Anthony Davis that would also provide this team with veteran leadership at the point guard spot that they were in dire need of all last season. In Mike Conley, the Lakers would also have a clutch scorer who would be another strong option for them outside of James and Davis in crunch time scenarios.
Adding Mike Conley to this Lakers squad could earn them another trip to the NBA finals.
With rumors swirling around about Westbrook being on the trade block, the Washington Wizards will more than likely be in need of a new backcourt mate for Bradley Beal. This is where signing Mike Conley comes into play, giving them a strong and positive locker room presence and a savvy veteran that has always won over the respect of his teammates.
With the addition of Mike Conley, the Wizards add another all-star caliber player that can serve as a strong mentor to a young and developing team while giving Beal some much needed scoring and playmaking relief. A starting five of Beal, Conley, Hachimura, Bertans, and Bryant would give the Wizards a perfect mix of veteran stars, youth, and athleticism that would make the Wizards a top four team in the eastern conference and a dark horse title contender.
New Orleans Pelicans
A team that finds itself on uncertain ground after recent displeasures have been voiced by franchise star Zion Williamson and his family, the New Orleans Pelicans need to do all they can to satisfy their superstar. The addition of Mike Conley would give them a reliable option at the point guard spot where he could also provide mentorship to this young team. A pick-and-roll combination of Mike Conley and Williamson would be electric, and with Conley’s strong defensive presence on the perimeter this team really could make strides.
With this move they would be able to nab a playoff spot for the first time in Zion’s young basketball career. Mike Conley would also add to a dynamic backcourt with Bledsoe while providing the Pelicans with another efficient scorer outside of Williamson and Ingram. This may not be a complete game changer, but it’s a start to putting a strong supporting cast around Williamson that would improve their playoff odds and gives them an upgrade from Lonzo Ball.
Now fully committed to their star duo in LaVine and Vucevic, the Chicago Bulls will be going all-in on surrounding their stars with a strong supporting cast. In Mike Conley, they’d have the perfect player to complement the skillsets of LaVine and Vucevic. A clutch combo guard with a well-rounded defensive showing that forms both a strong backcourt with Zach LaVine and a stellar 1-2 punch with Nikola Vucevic similar to what he had with Marc Gasol in Memphis.
In an effort to improve their playoff push in the top-heavy eastern conference, the addition of Mike Conley could easily get them into the bottom half of the playoff picture. A trio of LaVine, Conley, and Vucevic would make them a dark horse playoff threat highly capable of pulling off an upset. If the Bulls want to get back into the playoff mix, then this is a move they should strongly consider.
If there is a move out there that makes the most sense for Mike Conley to consider in free agency, then it’s re-signing with the Jazz. He’s already established great rapport with Mitchell and Gobert and adds to their great mix of youth, athleticism, depth, and veteran leadership. As a quality backcourt mate with Donovan Mitchell, he completes their starting five and gives this team a strong chance to win a title for the first time in their franchise’s history.
Granted they’ve had a rough go of it for the past few seasons, but Mike Conley running it back with this deep and dangerous bunch would give them more motivation to get over the hump next season and go all the way.
If the Jazz want this badly enough then they’ll do what it takes to bring Mike Conley back into the mix for this upstart Utah Jazz squad.