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Knicks eyed Mike Conley in the offseason, but price tag was too high

phil jackson

Before the New York Knicks secured the services of Derrick Rose last summer, the team’s president, Phil Jackson, admitted that they were targeting a different player who they believed was a good fit in their system.

The 71-year-old front-office executive revealed that the team was very much interested in going after Memphis Grizzlies‘ point guard Mike Conley but did not pursue him anymore after finding out how much the price tag was in order to sign him. Jackson even went as far as calling it “almost insane.”


Mike Conley was the best choice as a free agent, but he’s making $30 million a year. That’s almost insane. We saw that was going to happen. We had the opportunity to play with Derrick and see if he does have enough left in the tank – he’s 27 years old – before we have to get into that (free-agent) market again. It gave us an opportunity to build a team around him, Carmelo (Anthony), and Kris (Porzingis).”

Conley later agreed to stay in Memphis and signed the extension worth $153 million for five years which is the biggest contract in NBA history. For Rose, he has played solid basketball so far this young season and will be relied upon by the Knicks for his playmaking skills.

New York fans could only wonder what it would have been if Conley was running the point guard position of their team. But with Rose, it can be argued that they did not settle for second best and may even have gotten the better player between the two of them.

Rose is a former MVP and All-Star but never got to his old form after multiple injuries. If he finds his game from a few years back and can remain healthy, he will make Jackson and company realize that they have made the right decision in signing him and not committing a huge amount of money to Conley in the offseason.

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