One half of the Beef had been quietly speculating that with the addition of Greivis Vasquez to the Memphis Grizzlies, the team may start shopping Mike Conley. Consider that speculation completely squashed. As of late last night, Conley and the Grizzlies came to terms on a contract extension.
The extension is estimated to be worth $45 million over five years. That is not quite Rudy Gay money but it is certainly a hefty chunk of change. Memphis was motivated to extend Conley due to his play in the preseason and the first three games of the regular season. He has averaged 15 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 8.3 assists over three games for the Grizzlies this season. Add an average of 3.4 steals per game, which is the league high, to that as well.
Conley was drafted with the fourth pick in 2007 by Memphis. In all reality, Conley was considered a dud pick by just about everyone. He has career averages of 11 points, 2.9 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. Those numbers are certainly not indicative of a number four overall pick. Nonetheless, Memphis has seen enough improvement in Conley, albeit in a rather limited amount of time, to sign him to an extension.
Conley joins the likes of Kevin Durant, Al Horford, Joakim Noah, and Jared Dudley as the only draftees from 2007 who signed extensions with their teams. This marks the lowest number of players from a draft who signed extensions with their teams. The previous low was six from the 2006 draft class.
Dudley, who was the 22nd pick in 2007, inked his extension late on Monday night just before midnight, which was the deadline for extensions. Dudley’s deal with the Phoenix Suns is worth a reported $22.5 million over five years. The deal also includes an opt-out option for Dudley for the final year. He is averaging seven points and 3.5 rebounds per game this season in just three games.
Looking at the numbers and the money involved it is certainly hard to see where David Stern gets his data saying that the league is hemorrhaging money. Dudley’s extension is much more modest than Conley’s but for a player who averages 20 minutes on the court per game his numbers are lacking. Perhaps the Suns see something more. As for Conley, if he continues to play at his current clip then Memphis will be lauded for keeping him. If he does not then some will wonder how the Grizzlies befell the curse of Isiah Thomas when he has nothing to do with the organization.