Memphis Grizzlies boss Chris Wallace has been steadfast about not wanting to trade the star players from the Grit and Grind Grizzlies era, in Marc Gasol and Mike Conley.
Memphis is one of those rare NBA cities where you can probably get away with keeping old stars while dipping in the standings. Nostalgia sells in Memphis, and most Grizzlies fans would be heartbroken if Gasol and/or Conley were traded.
But something has to give in Tennessee at some point. The Grizzlies currently have the worst record in the Western Conference at 8-20. They do own their first round pick this year (which could be VERY good), but they will likely surrender their 2019 first rounder to Boston (as part of the Jeff Green trade several years back).
If a full rebuild is in the cards then the Grizzlies would be foolish not to trade either Gasol, Conley or both before this February's NBA trade deadline. Gasol has been mentioned in every trade rumor under the sun, but now Conley's name is being brought up in NBA circles.
As for teams that would be interested in Conley's services, two immediately pop up: the Pistons and Nuggets. Both teams seem to be an impact player away from really competing in their respective conference.
The Pistons are in desperate need of an upgrade at point guard as Reggie Jackson is score-first, something that does not mesh well with Detroit's current cast of characters. Conley can score as well but is a much better facilitator than Jackson. He also has great postseason experience.
The Pistons were reportedly interested in Eric Bledsoe a few weeks back, so they would certainly be sniffing around if Conley were to be put on the block in the next few weeks.
Detroit would love to send Jackson's contract to Memphis but the Pistons would likely have to give up multiple first round unprotected picks. Of note, the Pistons do own all of their first rounders moving forward.
As for the Nuggets' potential interest in Conley, this marriage was floated by The Ringer's Bill Simmons last week. The Simmons trades were wild hypothetical's but make no mistake, Simmons is tied in to the NBA rumblings (he was the first to get the LeBron to Lakers whispers out there). In his hypothetical, the Grizzlies would be getting Jamal Murray, Emmanuel Mudia and Kenneth Faried in return.