Timberwolves wanted ‘more maturity’ in trading for Mike Conley

Mike Conley, Minnesota Timberwolves (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
Mike Conley, Minnesota Timberwolves (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /

Leading up to the 2023 NBA trade deadline, fans of the Minnesota Timberwolves remember the various conversations surrounding D’Angelo Russell at the time. D’Lo was playing on an expiring contract, and many fans thought it was in the best interest of the team to move on from him in order to avoid losing him for nothing in the upcoming offseason.

Others believed Russell was the best choice at point guard for this team going forward, with his ability to score in bunches and the fact that he was still just 26 years old. As we all know, Minnesota ultimately decided to move on from D’Lo and bring in the veteran Mike Conley from Utah, agreeing to a three-team trade with the Lakers and Jazz.

So far, that has looked like a wise decision by the Timberwolves. Conley has been steady and methodical as Minnesota’s floor general, making life much easier for Rudy Gobert in the process. On the flip side, D’Angelo Russell has been thriving in Los Angeles, making the trade appear a win for all parties involved.

A new report said the quiet part out loud about the Russell-Conley trade.

A recent report confirmed many fans’ suspicions about the Timberwolves’ motivations in trading for Mike Conley. According to ESPN’s Kendra Andrews, Minnesota wanted to add a player with ‘more maturity,’ and one who ‘cared less about making flashy plays.’

These statements, while innocuous, certainly seem to carry the connotation of being a callout of D’Angelo Russell. From D’Lo’s ‘ice in my veins’ celebration to his sometimes questionable shot selection, there was no doubt he prided himself on being a flashy player.

There were definitely always questions about Russell’s maturity as well, especially considering his stern reaction to frequently being mentioned in trade rumors leading up to the 2023 deadline. His name was not directly dropped in this report, but the shoe seems to fit rather well.

If a more mature player is what the Timberwolves were desiring, they certainly got what they asked for. Mike Conley is well aware of his age and his strengths, and has been nothing short of a seamless fit in Minnesota thus far. Many Wolves fans will look back with fond memories of D’Angelo Russell, but Conley will give this team their best shot at winning a championship.

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