Karl-Anthony Towns is unhappy with the Minnesota Timberwolves. While a trade isn’t necessarily likely, it’s worth considering that the T-Wolves may not have a choice in the matter if Towns forces the franchise’s hand. That’s still a long way from actually happening, but it’s not an outlandish idea.
Adrian Wojnarowski has claimed Minnesota would likely get rid of everyone else (the front office and coach included) before Towns, but that stance might change if the team got overwhelmed by an offer.
Towns is 22 years old and is coming off an outstanding season. He averaged 21.3 points, 12.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.4 blocks, while shooting career-best percentages from the field (54.5), 3-point range (42.1) and the free throw line (85.8). He also turned in a PER of 24.99, while posting career-highs in rebound rate (20.0) and true shooting percentage (64.6). He’s one of the NBA’s best all-around young players.
It’s worth noting that Towns can sign a five-year extension this summer, and that ability would pass to whichever team traded for him. He’s currently set to make just $7,839,435 in 2018-19 and is due a qualifying offer of $10,191,266 for 2019-20.
With that in mind, here’s a look at the most likely scenarios that could make the Timberwolves budge and move their young star. (One note, these trades have all been run through the various trade machines and do work out financially.)
The Boston Celtics have been chasing a trade for Anthony Davis for a long time now. With that move unlikely to happen, they could turn their attention to Towns, probably the closest thing to a Davis clone in the NBA.
Adding Towns would give Boston a solid rim-protector who can do pretty much everything on the floor. He’s a better, younger, more athletic version of Al Horford, who would have no issues sharing the floor with the veteran big man. Acquiring Towns wouldn’t be cheap though.
To get Towns, the Celtics would need to surrender their top two young players. Parting with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown would be difficult, but worth it in the end. It would clear up the log-jam the team faces on the wing, especially with Gordon Hayward’s imminent return. The roster would be far more balanced and would have a foursome of Kyrie Irving, Hayward, Horford and Towns. Only the Warriors could match that group.
The 2019 first-round pick Boston owns from Memphis (top eight protected in 2019, top six protected in 2020 and unprotected in 2021) would also be thrown in.
For the Timberwolves, this deal would add a ton of firepower to an offense that could use it. Tatum and Brown are versatile wings that could team with Andrew Wiggins to create a dynamic young core. Jimmy Butler is a free agent after next season, so it would free the team up to move him if it wished.
Celtics get: Karl-Anthony Towns
Timberwolves get: Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Memphis’ 2019 first-round pick