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Grizzlies’ Conley: League’s biggest payday won’t affect my play

Associated Press

MEMPHIS — The Memphis Grizzlies wanted to keep Mike Conley so much that they gave their veteran point guard the richest contract in NBA history.

For Conley, the basketball — and pressure — is in his court after signing a five-year, $153 million deal Thursday.

Conley’s play will be closely monitored during an upcoming season in which he will earn more than new Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant, a seven-time All-Star with four league scoring titles and an NBA Most Valuable Player award. Durant signed a two-year, $54.3 million deal.

Conley doesn’t expect the lucrative deal to affect his play.

“It’s amazing the opportunity I’ve been given,” Conley said. “As far as the pressure, it’s hard to really gauge that because I put pressure on myself to perform regardless. The amount of money I make is not going to change how I approach the game. I’m going to continue to be aggressive and do a lot better than I did last season and the season before.”

Conley, a 28-year-old point guard, has played nine seasons with the Grizzlies during which he has averaged 13.5 points and 5.6 assists. He led the Grizzlies to the 2013 Western Conference finals, the farthest the franchise has advanced in the postseason.

“I’ll take the heat right now (on being the highest-paid NBA player),” Conley said. “Eventually, it will all die down.”