Analyzing a rumor that could involve the Boston Celtics trading for Mike Conley if both Kyrie Irving and Terry Rozier leave in free agency.
Considering how the season ended, many Celtics fans wouldn’t consider it such a huge loss, but if Danny Ainge wants to see his team in the NBA Finals in 2020, keeping a superstar like Irving or obtaining one like Anthony Davis (both preferred) is the key to put Boston in the driver’s seat.
But what if the Kyrie part doesn’t happen?
Well, plan B could be trading for another All-Star point guard who is starved to win a title before his career is over. That player is Memphis Grizzlies star Mike Conley.
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Just like former teammate Marc Gasol, Conley could have an opportunity next season to contribute to a team on the brink of an NBA title. The only downside to such an idea is Conley is an aging star with two years left on a massive contract.
However, if the Danny Ainge works the type of magic that earned him the title of one of the league’s top general managers and obtain Davis without giving up Jayson Tatum, the veteran leadership of a Michael Conley could work wonders.
With the Grizzlies primed to select Ja Morant with the No. 2 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, they are a team ready to move on and also a team willing to possibly swap Conley for Gordon Hayward as Bill Simmons of The Ringer suggested on his podcast.
The other option would be Al Horford if he opts in on the fourth year of his deal, but a fully healthy Hayward may be more enticing.
Again, it all comes down to what Kyrie Irving does as far as which direction Ainge goes in. Keep in mind, what makes Danny Ainge a top executive is that he is not going to be handcuffed by any player no matter how big the star.
Whether its trading a popular star like Isaiah Thomas or potentially trading the services of Hayward just a full season removed from a season-ending lower leg injury, Ainge will do what he feels is necessary to make his team a winner, even if it is not the popular choice.
What Michael Conley brings
Despite his age, Michael Conley is an upgrade over Kyrie Irving with his leadership and defensive effort. The type of star Brad Stevens could work his magic with, Conley would definitely compliment the games of both Anthony Davis and Jayson Tatum if the Boston Celtics ended up with that trio in 2019-2020.
Conley can also score, averaging 21.1 points per game in 2018, just a couple points lower than Kyrie Irving. The major difference between the two is that Conley does not need to dominate the ball and is at the point of his career that he will do whatever is necessary for the success of his team.
Is it worth losing Gordon Hayward?
If the team is riding the shoulders of an Anthony Davis and Jayson Tatum, the answer is yes. At any rate, the questions and rumors will still run rampant as July 1 approaches. At least there are options for a Plan B or even Plan C for the Boston Celtics. What we do know is the roster will be much different in 2019-2020.