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NBA Trade Rumors: Mike Conley, Marc Gasol both on Pistons’ radar

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Grizzlies interest in Detroit’s assets seems lukewarm, at best

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA trade deadline is less than a week away, and there are several reports that indicate that the Detroit Pistons are after one or both of Mike Conley and Marc Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies.

At this point, there is so much smoke there must be a little fire there.

The biggest impediment to a deal is that the Grizzles aren’t particularly fond of what Detroit is trying to sell them. Sure, Memphis would love to move on from the bloated contracts of Conley and Gasol. And, yes, they’d love a few picks and young players thrown their way.

But the team is reportedly trying to dangle the services of Andre Drummond in exchange for Gasol, and Memphis isn’t biting.

The team is also likely trying to pry away Conley for the combo of picks and slightly less horrendous contracts, but Grizzlies brass are not any more fond of having Reggie Jackson and Jon Leuer on their team than Pistons fans are at the moment.

Here is what Zach Lowe writes at ESPN:

There has not been much buzz about Gasol, though he is hoping for a trade, sources familiar with the matter say. Teams are waiting to see if the Grizzlies’ asking price drops a bit, sources say. Memphis has not shown any real interest yet in Andre Drummond, sources say. Detroit might be saving other trade chips for someone else. Gasol’s $26 million player option for next season brings a lot of uncertainty for any interested party.

Lowe writing that Detroit “might be saving other trade chips for someone else,” is awfully intriguing, but he might have indicated just who that someone else might be in his own column paragraphs later. Lowe writes:

Detroit remains my favorite Conley team, though Memphis would likely have to swallow Reggie Jackson’s contract -- or reroute him to a third team -- to snare one or two nice assets from the Pistons (perhaps a lightly-protected first-round pick and one of Detroit’s young wings.)

The teams have talked, but not gotten far, sources say. It’s unclear if there are any other serious bidders. Everyone around the Conley sweepstakes expects it to heat up over the weekend.

Andy Larsen of the Salt Lake City Tribune also has sources telling him Detroit is interested in a Conley deal, and pointing out that their pick will likely trump Utah’s in value.

So in some sort of dream scenario the Pistons would be sending something like Drummond, Jackson, Stanley Johnson, Bruce Brown and a first-round pick for Conley and Gasol. Some other salary flotsam would have to added on both sides to make the rosters/salary cap figures balance out.

That dream scenario, however, might end up being a nightmare.

If this offer isn’t good enough for the Grizzlies do you think a desperate team like the Pistons would really allow a player like Luke Kennard not be included? And while Drummond and Jackson are both overpaid, Gasol and Conley are not on bargain deals by any stretch.

Jackson makes $35 million between this season and next, which pales in comparison to Conley’s $62 million in the same time frame. Oh, he also has a $34 million player option he will certainly exercise in 2020.

By comparison, Gasol only makes $49 million over the next two seasons. That is just under Drummond’s $52 millions, but this time the Detroit player is the one with an extra season — $28 million.

Conley is also already 31 and Gasol is 34. So Detroit would still be incredibly cap constrained, have an aging roster in decline and max out as maybe the fourth or fifth best team in the Eastern Conference over the next two seasons.

I know the fan base is hungry for change, but trading for aging former stars and needing to give up valuable assets like young players and picks for the privilege is probably not a recipe for success.