Timberwolves, Mike Conley Jr. agree to 2-year extension

Mike Conley Jr. talks at Mayo Clinic Square about being traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Minnesota Timberwolves return from the NBA All-Star break Friday night against the Milwaukee Bucks, and are the top team in the Western Conference with 27 regular season games left.

The Timberwolves are 39-16, have won four straight and have a 1.5 game lead over the Oklahoma City Thunder. They have a two-game lead over the L.A. Clippers, and a three-game lead over the Denver Nuggets. Barring some sort of collapse over the last 27 games, the Timberwolves are all but guaranteed a top-four seed and home court in the first round of the Western Conference Playoffs.

Late last week, they solidified the immediate future of their backcourt. The Timberwolves and Mike Conley Jr. agreed to a two-year contract extension. Minnesota traded for Conley last year, along with Nickeil Alexander-Walker, and Conley has been a welcome veteran presence ever since.

Conley has started 50 games this season and is averaging 10.6 points, 2.9 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game. He’s in his 17th NBA season and maybe most importantly, is a mature veteran in the backcourt for the Timberwolves who has aided greatly in the transition with implementing Rudy Gobert. The two were teammates in Utah.

Conley is a leader for the Timberwolves, and a calming presence whenever it feels like a meltdown in a close game is imminent. The Timberwolves have stars in Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns and Gobert, but Conley is the steadying presence that can help lead Minnesota to a playoff run.

The Timberwolves have not yet made the extension official.