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Who's had a better second year with Wolves: Gobert or Connelly?

About a year ago, things were so bad for the Timberwolves that one local (and national narrative) went like this: Was the trade for Rudy Gobert in the summer of 2022 somehow even worse than the Vikings' infamous trade for Herschel Walker?

The question was asked earnestly, and it spoke quite poorly of both Gobert and the man who executed the swap: Wolves President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly, who had only been on the job a few months before dealing four first-round picks and a handful of useful players for Gobert.

It was hard to tell who had a worst first season in Minnesota: Gobert or Connelly.

Things have improved so much in a year, though, that this question needs to be entertained instead: Which of Gobert and Connelly has had a better second season in Minnesota?

In addition to being connected by the legacy of that blockbuster trade, the fortunes of both men are also connected by another roster addition — something I talked about on Tuesday's Daily Delivery podcast.

A little over a year ago, Connelly made a different trade — dealing away point guard D'Angelo Russell for Mike Conley Jr., Nickeil Alexander-Walker and three second-round picks.

It was a master class in roster management from Connelly. Getting a point guard that fit the Wolves much better than Russell — and particularly one who meshed well with Gobert from their previous time together in Utah — helped stabilize the team in the short-term last year. Getting Alexander-Walker, now a valuable rotation player, plus three draft picks made the deal a coup.

Getting Conley was the start of changing the impression of Connelly. And it was the start of unlocking Gobert's potential in Minnesota. The rest of it for Gobert this season seems to be better health and renewed comfort in the Wolves' defensive system, helping him rise again to an All-NBA Defense level and changing the narrative on the blockbuster Gobert trade.

Perhaps it shouldn't have been a surprise, then, when Connelly extended Conley's contract two more years beyond this one on Monday. By NBA standards, it was a modest deal — worth slightly less than $21 million total for the two seasons.

My assumption for a while was that Conley's expiring contract slot at the end of the season would be a tempting way for the Wolves to navigate next year's salary crunch. But this season he has proved to valuable to let go, even if he will be 38 when the final year of his extension begins.

It was another good move by Connelly, and it should help Gobert continue to thrive.

Here are four more things to know today:

*Also on Tuesday's podcast, Star Tribune Twins writer Bobby Nightengale joined from spring training. Here's a clip of our conversation about Byron Buxton.

*The Wild won 10-7 on Monday. The Vikings' final win last season was by a 3-0 score. That's why we watch sports, right? We never know what's going to happen.

*Jim Souhan wrote about the path to an NCAA Tournament bid for Ben Johnson's Gophers.

*La Velle E. Neal III will join Wednesday's podcast to talk about several things, including Minnesota United closing in on 32-year-old Manchester United assistant Eric Ramsay as its next head coach.