How have Timberwolves, Jazz, and Lakers played since the trade?

Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports /

The Minnesota Timberwolves did not initiate trade talks that eventually encompassed the Utah Jazz and the LA Lakers, By all accounts, it was the Lakers who started the teams talking. After all, their dram with PG Russell Westbrook had reached a boiling point, and after Westbrook and Lakers head coach Darvin Ham had words during a game, it was clear that the Lakers front office had to act quickly.

Well, acting quickly they did, as before the NBA Trade Deadline, the Utah Jazz, the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Minnesota Timberwolves all agreed to a rather complex three-team trade. If you want to go back and review the components of the trade, and what each team emerged with, you can check out the recap on this link here.

Los Angeles Lakers

But let’s keep in mind a few other factors. The Los Angeles Lakers went into the trade focused exclusively on winning now. Their return included:

PG D’Angelo Russell
SG Malik Beasley
PF Jarred Vanderbilt

All three players were targeted specifically due to their potential upside, the fact that the trio had competed together, that they were all young, and in the case of D’Angelo Russell, had a history with the Lakers in the past. The LA Lakers are 10-6 11-6 since that trade, but that is not the least bit surprising. After all, this is a team that salary dumped veteran PG Russell Westbrook onto the Utah Jazz, claiming three key players who are plug-n-play ready, and surrendering future draft picks in the process.

Utah Jazz

The Utah Jazz situation is a bit more complex as their parlay was intended to make the team more competitive in the future. The Jazz emerged from the trade with the following:

PG Russell Westbrook (bought out)
C Damian Jones
SG Juan Toscano-Anderson
2027 1st round pick (Top-4 protection) LA Lakers

Moving Mike Conley, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Jarred Vanderbilt, and Malik Beasley off their roster allowed the team to feature Kelly Olynyk, Jordan Clarkson, Talen Horton-Tucker, and Collin Sexton who have all responded well to their enhanced roles on the team. The Utah Jazz are


8-8 since the trade but have benefited from a weaker period on their schedule.

Minnesota Timberwolves

The Minnesota Timberwolves had the most difficult path after the three-team trade. Both the Utah Jazz and the Los Angeles Lakers were pivoting at the NBA Trade Deadline with players who were not relied upon to immediately start and deliver. Even D’Angelo Russell can do his thing with the Lakers, as they are primarily depending on Anthony Davis and LeBron James.

So what did the Minnesota Timberwolves acquire in that trade?

PG Mike Conley Jr.
SG Nickell Alexander-Walker
2024 2nd-round pick (lesser of Memphis or Washington picks)
2025 2nd-round pick Utah
2026 2nd-round pick Utah

Before the trade ever occurred, the Minnesota Timberwolves had complexities to their roster. The team continued to compete without PF Karl-Anthony Towns, and the offense has primarily been born by SG Anthony Edwards. The team had to place newcomer PG Mike Conley in charge of the team in mid-season and ease SG Nickeil Alexander-Walker into the rotation.

While the Minnesota Timberwolves have only played to a record of 6-9 7-9 since that trade, the fundamental dynamics of the team are improving. Mike Conley has truly taken over the team, and the locker room dynamics are significantly improved for the Timberwolves. And Nickeil Alexander-Walker has shown a panache for scoring from long range.

If you want to assess the trade on its own merits, you will need to assess the players selected with the draft picks as part of the equation. But the Minnesota Timberwolves did manage to accomplish two objectives: The team converted D’Angelo Russell into multiple assets for the team, both as players on the roster and as future draft picks to feed the talent pipeline in the future.

The Minnesota Timberwolves had little opportunity to move the needle for the 2022-23 NBA season at the trade deadline. But this team did manage to set itself into an even better position for the 2023-24 NBA season.

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