The Clippers aren’t the only Western Conference playoff contender eyeing Mike Conley. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Timberwolves have also expressed interest in the Jazz point guard.
As Charania outlines, the Wolves will have to make a decision in the coming months on D’Angelo Russell, who is on an expiring $31.4MM contract and appears unlikely to sign an extension with Minnesota before reaching free agency in July. If Russell leaves as a free agent this summer, the Wolves would lose his salary slot, which could negatively impact their ability to acquire another impact player moving forward.
According to Charania, Minnesota has been exploring trade scenarios involving Russell and has been prioritizing finding another point guard in such a deal.
Conley, 35, is nearly nine years older than Russell and has seen his production decline in recent years, but he’s averaging a career-high 7.5 assists per game this season to go along with 10.3 PPG on .386/.354/.789 shooting. As Charania points out, the Jazz have a winning record (18-17) with Conley available this season and are just 5-7 without him.
Conley, a well-respected veteran in the locker room, is earning $22.68MM this season and has a partially guaranteed $24.36MM salary for 2023/24. His partial guarantee is pretty substantial ($14.32MM), so he looks more likely to be retained for next season than waived unless he has a poor second half or suffers a major injury.
As mentioned above, the Clippers have also reportedly conveyed interest in Conley, which Charania confirms.
As the Wolves consider their options with Russell, there have also been rumors about the possibility of a trade with Miami involving Kyle Lowry. However, Minnesota is said to be averse to the idea of taking on Lowry’s contract, which is pricier than Conley’s ($28.3MM this season, $29.7MM in ’23/24) and is fully guaranteed.