Mike Conley isn’t going anywhere.
The 14-year veteran has agreed to a three-year deal to stay with the Utah Jazz, league sources confirmed to the Deseret News on Monday.
The Athletic’s Shams Charania and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski were the first to report the news, though their reports differ slightly in how much the contract is worth with Charania reporting the total worth of the contract at $68 million and Wojnarowski landing at $72.5 million.
It was never a question of whether the Jazz would try to re-sign Conley, it was just a question of when they could get it done and what the contract would look like. Even though the veteran guard was hitting the free agent market, it has long been rumored that the Jazz would be able to reach a deal that would keep Conley in a Utah uniform.
The Jazz, a team without any cap space to go out and woo another free agent of Conley’s caliber, were expected to make quick work of re-signing Conley, and they did. Less than three minutes after beginning of the free agency negotiations window at 4 p.m. MDT, the news that Conley and the Jazz had come to an agreement was reported.
While Conley’s first season with the Jazz was spent finding himself within head coach Quin Snyder’s system, last season he earned his first All-Star nod and was a huge reason the Jazz finished the regular season with the NBA’s best record.
Conley averaged 16.2 points and 6.0 assists per game last season while shooting a career-best 41.2% from behind the 3-point line. He finished the season second in total plus-minus behind teammate and Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert.
Not only was Conley critical in the Jazz becoming the winningest team of the 2020-21 season, but he was arguably the Jazz’s best player during their first-round series against the Memphis Grizzlies, his former team.
A hamstring injury sidelined Conley during the Jazz’s second-round series against the Los Angeles Clippers, however. It was widely thought that the Jazz would have had a better chance to move on in the playoffs had Conley been available to play.
Though Conley’s injury history, particularly his hamstrings, have started to become a bit of a concern, what he offers the Jazz when healthy is undeniable. That undeniable value is why Conley’s contract needed to be the first shoe to drop for the Jazz in free agency.
Now that Conley’s future with the team is secured, the Jazz can use the rest of free agency to figure out how to fill out the rest of the roster, possibly with a small-ball center and rangy wing defenders.
The Jazz don’t have very many avenues in which they can pursue free agents. As stated above, there’s no cap space to play with, so the Jazz only have the tax-payer mid-level exception ($5.9 million) and minimum contracts that they can offer free agents.