According to a report from ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the team will begin listening to trade offers for their two best players. Until now, they had been reluctant to consider moving either of their veteran leaders.
For first time, Memphis will begin listening to trade offers on franchise stars Marc Gasol and Mike Conley, league sources tell ESPN. Memphis has reached a crossroads and is preparing to weigh deals involving one or both of its cornerstone veterans. Story soon on ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 22, 2019
Gasol and Conley both addressed the rumors on Wednesday afternoon following practice. Conley even confirmed that he had received a phone call from Grizzlies owner Robert Pera about the situation: Via the Commercial Appeal:
"That won't change. It won't change to me," (Gasol) said. "My relationship with the Grizzlies might change, but my relationship with Memphis won't. What I feel inside and how I feel about Memphis and its people, it has nothing to do with the franchise or a temporary thing."
Conley said he received a phone call from Pera on Tuesday before word spread that the Grizzlies will listen to trade offers for the two.
"It's where we're at, I guess," Conley said. "It's part of the business."
After a dream start to the season, the Grizzlies faded quickly. Once 15-9, they're just 4-19 over the last six weeks or so and have sunk near the bottom of the Western Conference. They're currently on a six-game losing streak and have lost 12 of their last 13 games but they will look to turn things around on Wednesday night when they host the Hornets (8 p.m. ET -- Watch on FuboTV with NBA League Pass add-on). It's partly a matter of coming back down to earth after their strong start, and partly a matter of injuries ravaging the team yet again.
In any case, the Grizzlies have apparently decided that there is no longer any hope of trying to trudge on through everything with Gasol and Conley leading the way. And it's hard to fault them.
The longer they hold onto either player, the lower their value becomes in any potential trade -- Gasol will turn 34 later this month, and Conley is already 31. Plus, the past few seasons have proven that while Gasol and Conley are tremendous players, that duo alone isn't enough to carry the Grizzlies -- at least not to any sort of meaningful postseason memories.
There figures to be plenty of teams interested in each player, though finding a suitable deal may not be so easy. Gasol makes over $24 million per year and has a 15 percent trade kicker, while Conley's salary is over $30 million. Their ages and large salaries could make it tricky to find a deal that works for both sides.