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How national media reacted to the Mike Conley trade

Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley (11) drives around Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, left, in the first half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Oct. 22, 2018, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz made national headlines Wednesday with their involvement in the reported Mike Conley trade.

Media outlets and pundits started talking about what it meant for the team. Some say it’s a nice move and nothing more and then some say this puts the Utah Jazz in Finals contention.

Now there is some context to that, the injuries to Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant for the Golden State Warriors probably plays some role in pundits’ thinking.

Review: The Jazz sent Grayson Allen, Jae Crowder, Kyle Korver, and 2019’s first round pick and a future first round pick in exchange for Conley.

ESPN Reaction

ESPN’s Zach Lowe was one that said the Mike Conley trade immediately catapulted the Jazz to contention.

He says with the addition of Conley, players like Donovan Mitchell and Joe Ingles can go back into more proper roles on the team.

“Acquiring Conley slots everyone into a more natural hierarchy,” Lowe said in his piece. “He can share the controls with Mitchell; both will munch on more catch-and-shoot threes as a result.”

He also said he thought Memphis did really well in the trade. That is because there were reports on some strange restrictions on the future pick. The pick only goes to the Grizzlies next year if it falls between 8 and 14 and this same restriction applies in 2021. In 2022 it is only top 6 protected.

That is when it may be a “combined draft” meaning it includes high school players transitioning into the NBA along with NCAA prospects.

Mike Conley (player option in 2020-2021 season), Joe Ingles, and Rudy Gobert’s contract ends after the 2020-2021 season. So it is a real risk for the Jazz to put up that draft pick when you are not guaranteed to have those same players the season the pick conveys.

Ringer Reaction

Kevin O’Connor of the Ringer also says this propelled the Jazz to being in the conversation for a NBA Finals berth. He wrote the trade makes Utah “an instant Western Conference contender.”

He shared some of the same thoughts from Zach Lowe that it relieves some of the burden on Donovan Mitchell. He broke down Synergy stats on Mike Conley’s pick and roll numbers and how they are some of the highest in the league. Throw in options with elite rim rollers in Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors and it could get better.

Even Magic Johnson took to his social media to give some reaction as well.

A So-So Reaction

Stephen A. Smith of ESPN’s First Take said he would have liked to see Conley go to someone better even though he respects the Utah Jazz.

“They are not in the championship equation in my estimation,” Smith said.

His co-host Max Kellerman did point out that the West race is more open with Golden State’s injury bug to which Smith agreed.