Within a very short period into the final 24 hours prior to the NBA trade deadline, things have started to heat up. While the attention (for now) has shifted from the Los Angeles Lakers and Anthony Davis, one big topic has been Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley. Although the team is actively searching for a deal for Conley, the outlook took a turn on Wednesday afternoon.
Not only did ESPN’s Brian Windhorst report that Conley’s agent said he does not want to play for the Utah Jazz, but also that he wants a move to the Eastern Conference. Tomer Azarly of Clutch Points revealed the quote from Windhorst, which also pointed to a potential deal for Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry.
This comes on the heels of a reported offer from the Raptors to the Grizzlies in which they pitched Lowry and center Jonas Valanciunas for Conley and Memphis big man Marc Gasol. This was first made public by Sports Illustrated’s Jake Fischer, and it later came out that the deal was rejected.
With Lowry’s name squarely in the mix, it seems he’s a major name to watch. If the Raptors and Grizzlies push to work out a deal, let’s look at a few potential possibilities in terms of packages.
*Note: Trades created with ESPN’s NBA Trade Machine.
Raptors Increase Original Offer
- Grizzlies receive: Kyle Lowry, Jonas Valanciunas, 2020 first-round pick (lottery protected)
- Raptors receive: Mike Conley, Marc Gasol
I’m not sure if a first-round pick would get the job done, but it’s hard to envision that it wouldn’t at least help push the Grizzlies in the right direction. Although I believe Gasol is a far better player at this moment than Valanciunas, there’s also an eight-year age difference between the two. Gasol is on the downswing of his career but can help the Raptors win a title in the immediate future.
The lottery protected aspect of this pick is probably irrelevant, so in order to make the deal look more enticing, the Raptors could potentially take the protection off. The big topic comes down to whether the Grizzlies have interest in Valanciunas, who does have a decent amount of upside.
Raptors Take Different Route With Lowry/Valanciunas Offer
- Grizzlies receive: Kyle Lowry, Jonas Valanciunas
- Raptors receive: Mike Conley, JaMychal Green, Garrett Temple
This move from the Raptors would be a “win now” decision. Both Green and Temple are on expiring deals so Toronto could be renting them for one season. Obviously, they have a lot to sort through this coming offseason, beginning with Kawhi Leonard’s future. But the team would still have the opportunity to bring back Green and/or Temple if they are believed to be good fits.
Regardless, the trade adds Green as depth behind Serge Ibaka and Pascal Siakam while providing an extra option on the wing in Temple. Neither player will step in and completely dominate games, but they can be very good role players in the postseason push.