It’s good to be Mike Conley, Jr.
From Final Four to fourth overall pick to the richest contract in NBA history, the 28-year-old has led a charmed basketball life. And he knows it.
“First off, I’m thankful for (the contract) and blessed to be in this situation,” Conley said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “As far as pressure, I don’t feel it because until next season and the seasons to come, my contract will look like peanuts to some of these guys that will be signing. So it’s cool to have that tag as the highest-paid player in history for now, but that will soon be surpassed shortly.”
Conley signed a five-year, $153-million contract to remain in Memphis, where he has spent his entire nine-year career.
“For me, Memphis is home,” Conley said. “For myself and my family, all the relationships that we have there – these people have stuck with me through it all. It’s a great, great place to play basketball. The fans are great, and I’m in a dream situation. I couldn’t leave that. The teammates that I have there, the guys I’ve gown up with and the coaching staff and the organization as a whole, we’re all in it together. We want to win a championship. I’d love to bring one to Memphis.”
Conley, who averaged 15.3 points, 6.1 assists and 2.9 rebounds per game last season, said he never seriously contemplating leaving the Grizzlies.
“I think it was more so Memphis was always going to be in the driver’s seat, and any other team that was interested, I was going to listen to and see if there was maybe something that would sway me away,” he said. “That was kind of the case.”
Many people thought that Memphis, after going 42-40 last season and getting swept by the Spurs in the first round of the playoffs, would start over and rebuild. But after re-signing Conley and acquiring Chandler Parsons, the Grizzlies are clearly still trying to contend in a top-heavy Western Conference.
“They’re trying to still make the right moves in order to win a championship,” Conley said. “Adding Chandler Parsons was huge. Having a guy that not only can score on the outside but facilitate and make plays for everybody is something that I don’t think we’ve had in that wing position since I’ve been there. It’ll be very exciting to have him.”
In other news, Conley, a former Ohio State standout, was happy to see LeBron James lead Cleveland to an NBA title.
“Oh, for sure,” Conley said. “Being that I live in Ohio and have so many ties to Ohio, I really wanted to see not only LeBron but just the guys there do it for Cleveland. I think Cleveland really went through a lot. Being part of Ohio, you feel some type of way towards it. It was exciting to see they got that parade and they walked with their head held high.”