According to Stein, Memphis has "tried to engage" Conley in extension talks multiple times, but the point guard's now-bargain of a five-year, $40 million contract he signed in 2010 makes testing the market – with the NBA's salary cap expected to jump around $30 million in 2016 – a no-brainer.
At Conley's current base salary of $9,388,426, an extension signed after June 30 can start at 107.5% of that number and last three years maximum, both far smaller numbers than he could command in free agency. If Conley waits, he'll be 28 years old when he hits the market. Were he to re-sign for three years, he'd next hit free agency at age 31, a stage of his career with theoretically less leverage to command a lucrative long-term contract.
Another factor possibly preempting Conley's eventual decision is the pending free agency of Grizzlies center Marc Gasol, who will be unrestricted this off-season. Stein reports Memphis is "jittery" about the situation despite Gasol's deep roots within the city, where he played high school ball as a teenager while older brother Pau starred for the Grizzlies. It would make little sense for Conley to commit to anything long-term until his star teammate makes his intentions known.
- Jeremy Woo