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‘I’m just worried about Jazz’: Conley addresses latest batch of trade rumors

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Salt Lake City – Mike Conley is used to hearing his name in business talks. The rumblings were heard during his final season with the Memphis Grizzlies, and it was said last summer that he was very close to being a member of the Los Angeles Clippers.

It is very similar to when the clock ticks towards the February 9th trade deadline. Conley has been mentioned by most of the NBA news experts.

Mark Stein, formerly of ESPN and The New York Times, I mentioned clippers “You have a business interest in Mike Conley Jr. of Utah amid a growing belief that Jazz—which has slipped to No. 9 in the West in the 22-24 years after its stellar debut—could become a much-needed seller at this deadline.”

Bleacher Report by Jake Fisher Has follow-up This report by Twitter: “Mike Conley’s interest in the Clippers dates back at least to this summer, when Los Angeles was weighing point guard options before John Wall headed to the Staples center after securing the acquisition from the Rockets.”

Finally, the sporty Shams Al-Shaaraniyya Added a new team To the mix, the Minnesota Timberwolves (as well as the Clippers) have reported interest in the Jazz Center.

Regardless, it appears the teams – specifically the Clippers – have made it known that Conley is wanted. The veteran guard has put up 10.5 points and 7.5 assists this season. And in his last four games, he averaged 14.8 points on 46% 3-point shooting, which included a 17-point, nine-assist night on Wednesday against the team he was associated with most often.

“The last few games have been very good for me,” Conley said. “So it’s nice to get into a good rhythm while feeling healthy, and the kneecap took a little longer. Even when I came back, it was still a little slow, but now I have a blast — getting back to doing the things I normally do.”

Was Wednesday’s performance a test of sorts for a potential new team? If that was the case, Conley certainly didn’t know about it.

“Luckily, I had experience with it. I can’t control it,” Conley said of the business talk. “I just go out there and play basketball and work for the team. Just be the team player that I was. I’m not worried about it. If it happens, it will happen; if it doesn’t happen, it won’t.”

This is exactly what happened over the summer. There was a close deal between the Clippers and Jazz that would send Conley to the West Coast. After talks died down and Los Angeles signed Wall instead, Conley was told how close he was to being a Clippers player.

What is his response? shrug

“I was like, ‘Okay, it didn’t happen,’ so I kept going into the summer,” Conley said.

Wall averaged 11.7 points, 2.8 assists and shot 40% from the field and 30% from the 3-point line with the Clippers. He is currently sidelined due to an abdominal injury. No doubt Conley would be an upgrade – a potential deal would return Robert Covington or Reggie Jackson with a mix of other payroll fillers (Woll, Jason Preston, Brandon Boston Jr. and Amir Covey).

But would Jazz be interested in such a move? Could.

Conley is on the books for next season as well, and he’s probably overpaid at this point in his career (but he’s not terrible). If Jazz wants to save some money or spend it somewhere else over the vacation period, it makes sense to move it now.

But if this is the kind of return Utah can expect in a Conley deal, there’s a case to be made just to keep him. The Jazz are between the ages of 19 and 17 when they play, and are really far from challenging for home court advantage in the playoffs. The Jazz will need Conley to make that push.

“Mike is an unselfish, pass-first thinker,” jazz coach Will Hardy said. “There aren’t a lot of first point guards in the NBA anymore. And I think one of the luxury we have as employees is that we have one of them. Mike is a good decision maker.”

Do guys like Laurie Markkanen and Walker Kessler, who have blossomed this season into potential building blocks for a title team, still do just fine without Conley? Of course, but there is no denying that it helped them and everyone else who made it to the current level.

“He’s really fun to play with. He’s very smart,” Kessler said. “Just like knowing when to do different things on the screens, knowing when to turn them over, knowing when to pass—his passes are incredible. … And as a game student, I try to absorb as much information as possible from him.”

How long will he have to do that? A few days, a few weeks, a few years? Conley doesn’t even know, but until he gets the call, he’s going to keep doing what he’s always done.

“These guys know I’m 10 fingers down,” said Conley. “I’m just worried about jazz.”

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KSL.com reporter, Utah Jazz

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