Wolves trade D’Angelo Russell in 3-team deal that brings Utah’s Mike Conley to Minnesota
Russell Westbrook will be going from the Los Angeles Lakers to Utah.
ST. PAUL -- THe Minnesota Timberwolves solved a number of issues in one fell swoop Wednesday, moving D’Angelo Russell to the Los Angeles Lakers as part of a three-team deal that brings Mike Conley, Nickeil Alexander-Walker from the Utah Jazz and three second-round picks back to Minnesota.
Russell Westbrook will be going from the Lakers to Utah.
A source confirmed the deal to the Pioneer Press.
While naysayers will balk at Conley’s 35 years of age, the veteran is a calming, professional, pass-first point guard who can guide Minnesota’s offense when it’s at full strength and is more than comfortable moving aside to allow Anthony Edwards take charge.
There are countless times where the Wolves have just needed more direction on the floor. Kyle Anderson has been that for Minnesota on various occasions this season, but Conley can take some of that responsibility off his shoulders.
Russell shot at an elite clip over the past two months, but his removal frees up offensive touches for the likes of Jaden McDaniels. And the guard was a defensive liability who was inconsistent throughout his Timberwolves’ tenure and struggled mightily during last season’s playoff loss to Memphis.
Even with his shooting, Minnesota was out-scored by 1.6 points per 100 possessions when Russell was on the floor this season. The team simply didn’t play winning basketball when he was in action.
Russell will now re-join forces with Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt. All three are heading to the Lakers, where Patrick Beverley also currently resides, as part of the three-team swap.
Conley, meanwhile, sported a positive net rating for a Utah team that’s overachieved from the season’s outset. His leadership proved invaluable for a team that appeared rudderless before the season but played with purpose from Game 1.
Conley is in his 16th NBA season and fourth in Utah. He's averaging 10.7 points and 7.7 assists per game in 43 games (42 starts) this season. He spent his first 12 seasons in Memphis and averages 14.7 points per game for his career.
And now the Wolves hope the veteran guard can have the same impact on their group, which has played well of late but has been plagued by inconsistency throughout the season.
The NBA trade deadline is Thursday.
Westbrook, 34, has been ineffective since coming to the Lakers ahead of the 2021-22 season. He's started just three of 52 games this season and is averaging 15.9 points per game. He reportedly had a heated verbal exchange with coach Darvin Ham after Tuesday's game, during which LeBron James broke the all-time scoring mark.
Field Level Media contributed to this report.
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