Golden State is not alone in this.
While there is a lot of buzz among fans and some media about Giannis Antetokounmpo and what will happen when the Bucks offer him a supermax contract next July, the general consensus of sources I’ve spoken to around the league is he is not going anywhere. Antetokounmpo is an MVP at age 25, the kind of talent teams keep an eye on just in case, but he’s on a contending team in the only city in America he’s ever known, the place he and his family have made home. What happens with the Bucks in the playoffs will play a role in his decision — and if he passes on the supermax things get interesting — but most sources expect him to re-sign in Milwaukee.
The Warriors have been monitoring Karl-Anthony Towns’ situation in Minnesota. He’s under contract until 2023-24 but has less reason than Antetokounmpo to be thrilled with his team’s trajectory. This was a topic among multiple team executives at the recent G League Showcase, with a few relaying word that Towns is unhappy in Minnesota. The Wolves currently sit at 13th in the Western Conference, two spots ahead of the gap-year Warriors, looking at another lost season.
The Warriors are monitoring the Antetokounmpo situation, too. So is Toronto. So are 27 other NBA teams.
What the Warriors are really doing is thinking about what’s next? Not next year, when they get Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson healthy and back with Draymond Green and company (which may or may not include D'Angelo Russell). Those Warriors should be a threat again for a few seasons.
But then what? That’s where Towns comes into play. Towns is as good an offensive center as there is in the league, averaging of 26.5 points and 11.7 rebounds a game this season, and shooting 41.3 percent from three. Towns is in the first year of a five-year max contract extension, the Timberwolves don’t have to trade him immediately, but they are always on the clock. As we saw last summer with Paul George and others, if a star player wants out where they are in their contract may not matter. (Teams treat players the same way, just ask Blake Griffin.) If Towns is unhappy, as is rumored, there is pressure on Timberwolves’ management to turn things around quickly, something that has not happened this season. The clock is ticking in Minnesota.
The Warriors are watching. They are not alone.