Minnesota has lost 13 of their last 15 games and sit at 12-20 on the season. That inevitably leads to frustration in the locker room.
The New York Knicks are keeping an eye on the situation with the Timberwolves. The Golden State Warriors are, too. So are 27 other teams — if young star center Karl-Anthony Towns becomes unhappy and tries to force his way out of Minnesota, there will be a long line of suitors. The vultures are already circling.
That is not close to the situation on the ground — there is zero actual Towns trade talk taking place. None. Does anyone think brand new president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas would trade Towns in the first year of his five-year, $190 million rookie contract extension? There have been a couple of reports about this in recent days. Here is the New York Times’ Marc Stein from his (must read) weekly newsletter:
I know there have been various reports in recent days about teams “monitoring” Towns, in hopes that the losing somehow prompts the All-Star center to seek a trade, but legitimate trade discussions over the next month involving Minnesota’s best player are unlikely in the extreme.
The Wolves have been adamant, in every conversation I’ve had with them, that they are building “everything” around Towns. The swift fall from Minnesota’s promising 10-8 start to 12th in the West entering Tuesday’s play is undeniably alarming, but I’ve been advised that the idea of trading Towns is pretty much the last thing the Wolves are thinking about.
Then there is this from Jon Krawczynski at The Athletic.
Sources connected to both Towns and the Timberwolves downplayed any concern about his long-term outlook in Minnesota in the wake of the attention showered on the final two paragraphs of Strauss’s story. The sourcing is not coming from anyone connected to Towns, so most directly involved see it as the inevitable chatter that surfaces when losses mount.
Rosas and [Coach Ryan] Saunders have built their foundation on culture and connectivity and have bent over backward to empower Towns as the face of the franchise…
Rosas and Saunders have built their entire offense to maximize having a rare big man who can shoot the 3 the way Towns can, and they have communicated with him about their plans to reconfigure the roster over the next couple of years to better fit his skill set. Rosas has openly acknowledged the need to upgrade the talent around him and has pledged to be aggressive in pursuit of that.
What Minnestoa’s front office and coaching staff have done is build a strong relationship with Towns and essentially say, “we’re going to build a winner around you, just give us a chance.” It’s going to take a few years, but Rosas comes out of the Daryl Morey school for aggressive GMs, he is going to attack the situation and look to make changes. It just takes time.
Maybe those changes work and in a couple of years the Timberwolves are winning, look like an up-and-coming threat in the West, Towns is happy, and everyone is singing “Walking on Sunshine” and dancing around together. Or, maybe everything goes the way it went with Anthony Davis in New Orleans. Whatever happens, it’s going to take time to play out and everyone knows it.
Which is why there will be no Towns trade at the deadline. Or in July. Or next February. Or….