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#pounditThursday, June 13, 2024

1 veteran player may be stuck on Jazz?

Danny Ainge smiles

Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

As the Utah Jazz plunge straight into a rebuild, one veteran player’s “eject” button may not be working.

Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report wrote this week that Utah could struggle to find a team willing to take on former All-Star guard Mike Conley’s contract.

“He’s over the hill,” Pincus quoted an anonymous NBA executive as saying of Conley. “His production is not worth [his salary].”

Conley, who will turn 35 before next season starts, averaged 13.7 points (his lowest in a decade) and 5.3 assists per game for the Jazz last season. He was even worse in Utah’s first-round playoff loss, managing just 9.2 points per game on 33.3 percent shooting.

The 15-year NBA veteran Conley is still owed $47 million over the next two seasons (though with only a partial guarantee for the 2023-24 season). That makes a contract buyout much more difficult and an outright release all but out of the question (since using the stretch provision on Conley would require the Jazz to pay out his contract over the next five years).

Utah’s other suddenly unneeded veterans are drawing fairly robust trade interest leaguewide. But Conley, who is the oldest and is owed the most money, may have to endure an awkward season on the Jazz next year.

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