Timberwolves' trade for Mike Conley just keeps getting better

Minnesota's 2023 trade deadline acquisition of Conley continues to age like fine wine.
Mike Conley, Minnesota Timberwolves
Mike Conley, Minnesota Timberwolves / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

When the 2022-23 season began, the Minnesota Timberwolves had some work to do in figuring out their future at the point guard position. At the time, D'Angelo Russell was headed into a contract year, and there were no reports of he and the team being anywhere close to an extension.

Amidst the uncertainty, President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly was putting together a master plan for how Minnesota would handle Russell's situation and continue climbing to the level of a championship contender. Plenty of Timberwolves fans remember the split thinking on D'Lo at the time. Many loved him, but many more were concerned with his maturity and shot selection.

Still, it seemed like keeping him could be a good option, considering the solid production he had given the team in his two-plus seasons. But leading up to the trade deadline in February 2023, chatter continued about D'Angelo and other teams around the league being interested in acquiring his services.

All the rumors culminated in an announcement on February 9 that D'Lo had officially been dealt in a three-team trade. Russell would head to Los Angeles to play for the Lakers, while the Timberwolves acquired Mike Conley, Nickeil Alexander-Walker and three second-round draft picks.

Conley has been instrumental in the Wolves' success

At the time, the trade was viewed as a good way to move on from D'Angelo, preventing Minnesota from potentially losing him for nothing in the upcoming offseason. There did not appear to be a clear winner of the trade at the time, with Conley's age being a question mark, and some wondering how ready Alexander-Walker was to step into a big minutes, rotation-level role.

But over a year later, we can confidently say this was one of the best moments of Tim Connelly's tenure as an executive. Using his basketball expertise, Tim took a swing on what he believed to be a better fit at point guard for this team, and his bold move has paid off in a massive way. Mike Conley has been positively crucial for this Timberwolves team.

His steady ball-handling abilities and timely shot-making have paired perfectly with his locker room leadership. Conley was a massive factor in the 2024 playoffs, and he held the fourth-highest plus-minus of any player on the roster during Minnesota's run to the Western Conference Finals.

The fact that Conley had already played alongside Rudy Gobert in Utah led to the two picking up right where they left off from a chemistry standpoint when he arrived in town. Mike has also gelled incredibly well with the Wolves' younger players, and he is clearly a fantastic veteran leader and teammate for Anthony Edwards.

All things considered, it is hard to envision the Timberwolves being in a better position at point guard than they are right now. As the Mike Conley trade continues aging better and better, Tim Connelly looks like even more of a basketball genius.