Where are they now? Rundown of ex-Timberwolves players from 2021-22 season

Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /
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Minnesota Timberwolves Timberwolves News Timberwolves Trade Mike Conley Jr. Nickeil Alexander-Walker
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Trade Package II:

PG D’Angelo Russell is another former Timberwolves player who is about to hit the NBA Free Agency market and did himself no favors this season. His career peaked in the 2019-20 season when he was traded by the Golden State Warriors to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Since that time, he has declined steadily each year. During the 2022-23 NBA season, it was clear that he was not a good fit for the Timberwolves, who traded him to Los Angeles Lakers for PG Mike Conley Jr., SG Nickeil Alexander-Walker, and three future second-round NBA Draft picks.

After being traded,  he may have shot himself in the foot. For starters, his performance for the Los Angeles Lakers was subpar for a player who views himself in the $25 million per year range.  That is overly optimistic for a player who wilted in the NBA Playoffs. 3The Lakers will likely counter with an offer that is far below that number if they make him an offer at all.

Plus he burned his bridges with the Minnesota Timberwolves by claiming that the Timberwolves held him back. That was a huge and immature mistake to make by a player who was actively competing in Round 2 of the 2023 NBA Playoffs. The Timberwolves never held him back, but D’Angelo Russell’s willingness to claim that to be the case only has the downside of devaluing his market further.

His market is further diminished by the fact that any sign-and-trade options appear to be set in terms of their backcourt.

Timberwolves players

Veteran PG Mike Conley Jr. arrived and, although late in the season, immediately went to work, both on the offensive and defensive halves of the basketball court. While he performed below his career averages, he was solid both in the regular season and in the NBA Playoffs. Best of all, he was a solid contributor to the scoreboard, while also giving the Timberwolves solid defense as well.

SG/SF Nickeil Alexander-Walker was the real prize in the Cracker Jack box. While he was a solid contributor to the team in the regular season, he was tasked with taking over for injured starting small forward Jaden McDaniels in Round 1 of the NBA Playoffs. NAW delivered both on offense (8.2 points on 40.0 percent shooting from three-point range) and defense, as he was willing to stick to his assignment like velcro.

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In the end, the Minnesota Timberwolves traded for players who stepped up in a big way during the NBA Playoffs and parted ways with players who wilted under pressure. I could be wrong, but isn’t that the goal? Of course, the results are still early, so it’s too soon to call winners of any trade. But unlike some of the early instant analyses that berated the Timberwolves, on my scorecard, the Timberwolves are looking pretty good.