Conley embraces championship talk at Jazz intro

Conley: Toronto has inspired a lot of teams to make moves (1:45)

Mike Conley embraces talks of a championship with his new team, the Utah Jazz, and gives credit to the Toronto Raptors for inspiring teams to make championship moves. (1:45)

LAS VEGAS -- Utah Jazz executive Dennis Lindsey sat at a table in a casino ballroom Monday morning with Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic positioned at his side and pondered the jackpot he hit this offseason.

"It's a big day," he said as the team officially introduced Conley, acquired via trade from the Memphis Grizzlies, and Bogdanovic, pried from the Indiana Pacers as a free agent thanks to a four-year, $73 million contract.

The acquisitions, which set up subsequent signings of Ed Davis, Jeff Green and Emmanuel Mudiay, leave the Jazz with the seventh-best odds to win the 2020 championship at 14-1 at Caesars.

That is to say the big day is setting the table for big expectations for a Utah team that already featured the dynamic, 22-year-old shooting guard Donovan Mitchell and back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year winner, Rudy Gobert when it was bounced from the first round of the playoffs this spring.

"I think we all see that it's an opportunity for all of us to have that aspiration," Conley said. "We all want to win a championship. And especially myself, it's something I've really been looking for my whole career and have gotten close and never been able to push through.

"And now it seems like it's the time -- this year especially, there's not too many teams with three big-time, top-five, top-10 guys on a team. It's kind of split up, so it's a great opportunity for the Jazz to just be ourselves, continue to improve as the season goes on, and we'll be there at the end of the year knocking at the door."

The NBA veered from the superteam structure of dominance this summer with Kevin Durant leaving the Golden State Warriors for the Brooklyn Nets and Kawhi Leonard choosing to join Paul George with the LA Clippers rather than form a big three with LeBron James and Anthony Davis on the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Jazz vaulted itself into the championship conversation by trading for Conley in mid-June, the timing acting as what Lindsey called an "accelerant" for Bogdanovic -- coming off a season in which he averaged 18 points on 42.5 percent shooting from 3 while playing in 81 of 82 games -- in considering Utah as his new home.

"It's been a great, great free agency for all of us," Bogdanovic said. "I'm so excited to be a part of this organization and culture and one of the deepest rosters right now in the league."

Much like the way Leonard recruited George to the Clippers, Bogdanovic said "many" Jazz players pitched him on Salt Lake City.

"I was surprised that everybody reached out," Bogdanovic said. "Their togetherness is at a high level."

In that same spirit of togetherness, Conley opted to wear No. 10 for the Jazz after playing the first 12 years of his career donning No. 11 in Memphis, because Jazz guard Dante Exum already wears No. 11.

"I approached him immediately to let him know I was going to change my number so he didn't have to stress on anything," Conley said.

The only stress for the Jazz now is trying to bring all the pieces together for coach Quin Snyder.

"I think what Toronto accomplished this season is just confirmation that if you put together a good roster, a deep team, and guys improve as the year goes on, you can be sitting there right in arm's reach of a championship," Conley said.

It's been 20-plus years since the Jazz last made the NBA Finals, making back-to-back appearances in 1997 and 1998 with the John Stockton-Karl Malone teams that fell to Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls, and more than a decade since Utah was in the conference finals with Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer in 2007.

But now is the time to think big.

"We embrace the expectations because we're trying to field the most competitive team that we can in pursuit for a championship," Jazz general manager Justin Zanek said. "We got a lot of work to do. We got to have the team jell and spend time with each other, and we have time to do that. But again, we'll embrace everything because we're here to compete."