The trade deadline is quickly approaching and the Indiana Pacers are showing up in Mike Conley rumors.
Sam Amick and Tony Jones of The Athletic both reported that the Pacers have been in contact with the Memphis Grizzlies about Conley.
Jones reported that Pacers offered one young player and one veteran but the Memphis counter off was far too high. It seems the trade demands for Memphis make this deal unlikely to happen.
The Pacers likely offered one of Aaron Holiday or TJ Leaf along with one of their veterans on expiring contracts like Darren Collison, Cory Joseph, Thad Young or Tyreke Evans. More players would have needed to be involved for the salaries to match than just a single veteran for Indiana.
According to the Indy Star, Aaron Holiday is aware that he could be dealt before the deadline, so it appears he could be the young player in a possible Conley deal. Update: The Star now says that the Pacers are no longer accepting inquiries on Holiday.
This is speculation, but the Grizzlies likely wanted Myles Turner or Domantas Sabonis. Perhaps even both with how high their asking price appears to be for multiple teams that have engaged with them. Or perhaps draft-pick compensation was too much to swallow.
Adrian Wojnarowski mentioned the Jazz as interested Conley suitors on a trade deadline special with Zach Lowe on ESPN but did not mention the Pacers. He also said that it’s more likely that Marc Gasol is moved at the deadline than Conley.
Lowe had previously reported that the Pacers made sense as a team to pursue Conley but the buzz was that Indiana has stepped away from Conley talks. He did mention that getting a third team involved might help facilitate this deal at the time and J. Michael of the Indy Star said the same in the article linked previously.
If the price is prohibitively high, there’s no reason for the Pacers to push into acquiring Conley right now, whose age (31), contract ($30+ million per season) and injury history make this deal a very risky one. If Turner or Sabonis is involved, it’s a hard pass for the Pacers.
The Pacers showed they can still be a good team without Oladipo this year and Conley doesn’t put them back in the conversation for the best team in the East with the Sixers, Bucks, Raptors and Celtics anyway, especially without the players they’d need to give up to get him just for the salaries to match.