Mike Conley, for now, is the highest-paid player in the history of the NBA. Denying overtures from the Dallas Mavericks and other teams in free agency, Conley has returned to the Memphis Grizzlies on a five-year deal worth about $153 million.
In an article for The Players’ Tribune, Conley graphs his time in Memphis fondly, referencing cornerstone relationships with Damon Stoudamire, Marc Gasol, and Tony Allen that have made Tennessee feel like basketball home for him over his nine-year career. The address goes to show how large of a role sentimentality and comfort play in a players’ decision during free agency, no matter what other teams can offer.
Memphis will look to bounce back after an injury-riddled 2015-16 season, in which Conley missed 26 regular season games and all of the playoffs, and in which Gasol missed even more time. They’ve replaced head coach Dave Joerger, now with the Sacramento Kings, with David Fizdale, one of the architects on Erik Spoelstra’s staff during the Miami Heat’s run of four-straight NBA Finals appearances. They’ve also added Chandler Parsons on the wing in recent days, who could do wonders for the Grizzlies’ offensive spacing and playmaking abilities.
As Conley notes in his column, the Grizzlies are often overlooked. So don’t be surprised if they’re right back in the Western Conference mix this winter.
(via The Players’ Tribune)