http://www.nba.com/2010/news/features/art_garcia/11/02/conley-signs/index.htmlMike Conley isn't apologizing for the $40-plus million extension offered before Monday's deadline by the Memphis Grizzlies. There's no need, considering the alternative would have been to say no.
Conley's job isn't to worry about the others in the same 2007 draft class that went without the years being added to their rookie contacts. He doesn't have to justify his talents or worth against fellow extension recipients Kevin Durant, Joakim Noah, Al Horford and Jared Dudley.
The 23-year-old point guard also shouldn't be concerned about what this means in the bigger picture. Yes, those nebulous collective bargaining talks hanging out just a step off the side of the court throughout the season. Let the owners and union argue over the significance of deals such as Conley's.
If anything, the Players Association ought to be thanking him. Cries of poverty from the league's owners sound awfully wolfish when sizing up the five-year pledge from one of the league's supposed struggling teams. If a small-market, low-income franchise such as Memphis can afford $120 million in extensions for Rudy Gay and Conley, is there really a problem?
But that's another issue. And while many are calling the Conley deal crazy, those inside the Grizzlies locker room are calling it commitment. Marc Gasol said that management is dedicated to keeping the team's young talent intact, even though he curiously didn't receive an extension by the deadline.
"We never doubted that," the fourth year center said. "They always told us that was going to happen. The intention was to keep the core together. We're going to have that."