Report: Pistons could’ve had Mike Conley if they were willing to add Luke Kennard to package with Reggie Jackson, 1st-round pick
The Detroit Pistons were one of the teams eager to acquire veteran guard Mike Conley from the Memphis Grizzlies before the trade deadline. Despite numerous discussions from both sides, no deal materialized as the buzzer sounded at 3:00 p.m. ET last Thursday.
The Grizzlies were willing to trade Conley to the Pistons, but they were asking for sophomore guard Luke Kennard as part of a large trade package including Reggie Jackson and a first-round pick. Detroit refused to include the youngster.
According to The Athletic’s James L. Edwards III, had the Pistons made Kennard available in their trade discussions with the Grizzlies, a deal for Conley would have been completed:
Detroit could have had Grizzlies veteran point guard Mike Conley had it been willing to add Kennard to a package that involved Reggie Jackson and a first-round pick, per a league source.
This decision speaks volumes about the Pistons’ trust in Kennard’s potential to be a great shooter in the league. In fact, Detroit traded proven shooter Reggie Bullock to the Los Angeles Lakers and veteran forward Stanley Johnson to the Milwaukee Bucks in order to give Kennard more minutes:
The decision to move on from both Bullock and Johnson was as much about business as it was a belief by the Pistons’ brass in Kennard. A league source said teams across the league have inquired in trade discussions about the shooting guard’s availability since he was a rookie. Neither the previous regime nor the new one has indicated it would be willing to part with Kennard for nothing.
The Pistons want Kennard to be a key part of their future, and the spotlight is now on him to prove the franchise right for keeping him.