This season the Minnesota Timberwolves improved by 16 wins over the season before, saw their offensive numbers jump to top five in the NBA, and the franchise made the playoffs for the first time since 2004. It’s the most successful the Timberwolves have been since the Kevin Garnett era, and their future is even brighter.
However, just under that veneer of success, rumors of tension and trouble between the team’s younger players and coach/GM Tom Thibodeau (particularly Karl-Anthony Towns) have circulated around the league for a year or more.
ESPN’s well-connected duo of Zach Lowe and Brian Windhorst briefly touched on it during The Lowe Post Friday.
Lowe said Towns and the Timberwolves are “not in a good place internally.” Windhorst added, “I don’t think Anthony Davis is going anywhere any time soon. But Karl Towns, now that might be a different story.”
Two things. First, we are a long, long way from this actually happening. This is the NBA rumor mill, and no doubt Thibodeau (and maybe Towns) will deny this publicly soon. That denial doesn’t make the report accurate, just know this is nowhere near any kind of reality. Yet.
Second, if it did get to the point where Thibodeau started to test the trade market for KAT, I would expect owner Glen Taylor to step in. Trading away a young, franchise-level player is drastic. Not unheard of, but drastic. If Taylor stepped back and assessed the situation, who do you think he would see as more valuable to the franchise long-term, Towns or Thibodeau? And if he chose Towns, what would that mean for Jimmy Butler?
When training camp starts next fall, expect Towns and Thibodeau to both be there for Minnesota. However, three years from now, it’s far less likely both are around. This is just the start of these rumors.