The Utah Jazz took care of their biggest offseason priority by agreeing to re-sign Mike Conley.
The Utah Jazz‘s top priority in 2021 NBA free agency has already been checked off the list.
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania at the onset of Monday’s free-agency mayhem, the Jazz have agreed to a three-year, $68 million deal to keep starting point guard Mike Conley in Salt Lake City.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski later reported it was actually worth $72.5 million, but either way, Utah is keeping Conley around for the next three seasons.
Mike Conley is returning to the Utah Jazz for 3 more years
Last season, the 33-year-old Conley averaged 16.2 points and 6.0 assists per game on .444/.412/.852 shooting splits in his second season with the Jazz. After struggling through the majority of his first season in Utah, Conley’s return to form last year was a big part of the team’s surge up the Western Conference ladder.
Conley was one of the NBA’s top leaders in individual plus/minus last season, and Utah posted the league’s best record, best point differential, third-best defense and fourth-best offense. They were seen as legitimate contenders, and in many people’s minds, the biggest reason they fell short against the LA Clippers in the playoffs was that both Conley and Donovan Mitchell were banged up in that series.
While running it back with a team that fell short in the Western Conference semifinals may seem like limiting their ceiling, Utah’s avenues for improvement were somewhat limited, and letting Conley walk for nothing would not have helped, since they would’ve had limited cap space to try and land a replacement on the open market.
By keeping Conley and re-signing their own free-agent point guard, Utah was able to offer that amount and keep a team that finished with the NBA’s best regular-season record intact. It’s certainly a manageable annual salary for a guy who finally made his first All-Star appearance last year, and it’s a good move to keep a contender together.