Every team in the league should want Mike Conley. He’s the perfect non-star point guard. He plays great defense, he makes three’s, he’s an excellent floor general, there’s absolutely nothing he can’t do and no team he can’t fit on.
San Antonio should deal Tony Parker and make Conley the primary focus of their offseason. New York should’ve chased him instead of Derrick Rose. Indiana should want to bring him home, Milwaukee should throw the kitchen sink at him to finally solve their point guard woes (no matter how much fun point Giannis is), the list goes on and on and on.
But the Spurs are going after Kevin Durant. The Knicks went for name value over Conley’s actual basketball talent. Indiana bet on Jeff Teague… for some reason. Milwaukee isn’t interested in players shorter than 6’7”.
So while everyone else is putzing around with flashier options, the Bulls are going to sneak in and steal Conley before anyone else realizes what happened. And wow, it’s an incredible fit.
Conley is an excellent fit next to Jimmy Butler, as he’s perfectly comfortable off of the ball but can run the offense with bench units as well. The pair make up one of the best defensive backcourts in basketball, allowing Chicago the flexibility to play players like Mike Dunleavy or Doug McDermott, shooters exclusively, without worrying about the defensive backlash as much as other teams. And hey, the Bulls might have decent spacing now! Huzzah!
It’s going to require some very modest cap work by the Bulls. After the Derrick Rose trade and assuming Pau Gasol opts out, they’ll be right on the periphery of max space. They could create it by dumping Jose Calderon on someone else, or could go the other way and trade Nikola Mirotic for a real asset that happens to be cheaper (he’s probably worth a late first rounder or early second). Creating the space is necessary but won’t be too difficult.
Once they do, it’s not entirely unreasonable to peg the Bulls as fringe title contenders. Butler is a legitimate two-way superstar, and Conley should compete for an All-Star nod in the weaker Eastern Conference. Combine those two with the Robin Lopez-Taj Gibson tandem and the Bulls could be one of the best defensive teams in basketball, and thanks to their excellence on that end they’ll be able to save some rotation spots purely for shooting. This team is going to be very good.
Likely Contract: Four Years, Max