Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report stated in a recent article that a number of executives from around the NBA believe that two-time All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns will be traded away from the Minnesota Timberwolves within the coming year ... or even weeks.
“Other competing executives think Karl-Anthony Towns will be long gone ahead of the 2024-25 campaign,” said Pincus. “Some even believe Minnesota would jump at an opportunity in the next few weeks.”
It’s like clockwork, every summer it seems we see Towns’ name brought up in trade rumors. Usually, that speculation comes from KAT’s dominant play and the team that’s built around him not being ready to win. However, this off-season it comes from a different point of view. This time around, it seems as if the Wolves are the party who’s ready to move on, but not necessarily for basketball reasons.
Sure, Towns has never been able to bring sustained winning to the Twin Cities. Despite having little to no reinforcements at his side and a revolving door of coaches and executives, the lack of winning basketball has still fallen at his feet. While I’m sure that’s somewhat played into these rumors, Minnesota may not really have a choice when it comes to keeping KAT and Rudy Gobert together to pair with Anthony Edwards and Jaden McDaniels.
With the new CBA change in the NBA, the Timberwolves will simply not have enough money to go around between their young core. Edwards will be signing a max contract this summer, and McDaniels is likely to seek around $25-30 million for a starting salary, according to Pincus. After those extensions alone, Minnesota just won’t be able to keep Towns and Gobert long-term.
There comes the decision on who President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly and Co. would rather have, Towns or Gobert. Dealing the Stifle Tower seems highly unlikely as the Timberwolves would not be able to receive the same value they gave up for him last summer. On the other hand, Towns is younger than Gobert and has pulled more of interest around the league.
Personally, I’d love to see the Timberwolves keep the core of Mike Conley, Edwards, McDaniels, Towns, and Gobert for just one more season before letting the new CBA force their hand. However, if the front office can find some value in a Towns trade this summer before they lose leverage next summer, they may just have to pull the trigger.
Potential Trade Partners
Teams such as the New York Knicks, Houston Rockets, Boston Celtics, and Charlotte Hornets have been brought up with the most interest in KAT. It seems like the Timberwolves will look to possibly add a point guard to replace Conley in the long-term while also adding some value first-round picks, especially after the team dealt all of them to the Utah Jazz in exchange for the French Rejection.
Pincus brought up a pretty intriguing three-team mock trade between the Atlanta Hawks, Rockets, and Timberwolves. The trade would send Atlanta’s Dejounte Murray and Houston’s Jabari Smith Jr. to Minnesota and Towns to the Rockets — along with other pieces but I only brought up what impacted the Timberwolves for the sake of relevancy.
I get it, no first-round picks. However, the Wolves would be getting a promising young guard who could both seek his own offense and hit others. My only concern there is if Murray would take away from Ant’s ability to control the offense — similar to what many said D’Angelo Russell was doing in Minnesota — and that Murray has only one year left on his contract, and will hit unrestricted free agency next summer. The potential addition of Smith Jr., the No. 3 overall pick in 2022, would be incredible. Smith Jr. is only 20 years old, so the forward would fit the Timberwolves’ timeline perfectly. Not only that, but he also has future Defensive Player of The Year written all over him.
This is a lot of speculation, too much for my liking. However, if Minnesota’s front office decides to deal KAT this summer, what would you like to see be the return?