Will the big moves made by the Memphis Grizzlies in free agency pay off this season?
The Memphis Grizzlies made it apparent that keeping Mike Conley was the focal point of this summer’s offseason when the point guard signed a five-year deal worth $153 million last week.
This deal is the richest contract in NBA history, which surpasses New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis‘ five-year deal worth approximately $145 million last year.
“Legacy is all I could think about at the end of the day, just that one word, what I’d think about at night,” Conley said. “I’d like to be in Memphis and say that we brought a championship here, from winning 20 games a year, to going to the playoffs six straight seasons, to continually getting better each year, to ultimately bringing that trophy home and having a parade on Beale Street.”
This move comes as no surprise because of the success that the Grizzlies are able to achieve while Conley is on the court. However, the amount of the deal is what has caused some eyebrows to raise considering the fact that Conley has never been selected for an All-Star Game.
Nevertheless, the league’s salary cap has risen to an astounding $94 million for the 2016-17 season thanks to the collective bargaining agreement back in 2011, combined with the $24 billion TV deal with ESPN and Turner.
Conley is a solid point guard when healthy, averaging 15.3 PPG, 6.1 APG and 2.9 RPG for the Grizzlies last season before sitting out after 56 games due to his Achilles tendonitis in his left foot.
Conley wasn’t the only player to receive a max contract from the Grizzlies. The franchise also signed Chandler Parsons to a four-year $94 million deal as a result of the Dallas Mavericks’ front office not extending the small forward the max money that he wanted.
Parsons averaged 13.7 PPG, 4.7 RPG and 2.8 APG last season before suffering a torn meniscus in his right knee.
“I think I can make those guys better, as well as they can make me better,” Parsons explained. I can stretch the floor and shoot when we go big with the two big guys inside, and I can get out and run and play the 4 when we go small.”
Parsons was a very good player when he played for the Houston Rockets but his last two seasons have been cut short due to injuries.
He joins a cast that features Mike Conley, Tony Allen, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol in Memphis.
The ultimate question is: Will Parsons’ style of play mesh with the grit and grind play that the Grizzlies have been known for?
Additionally, will first-year head coach David Fizdale be able to uphold the consistent level of winning that Memphis has shown for six consecutive years?
Conley is arguably the most underrated player in the NBA but now he is officially the highest paid player in league history. And the Memphis Grizzlies will only go as far as he can take them.