NBA rumors: Karl-Anthony Towns trade talks will heat up in February

Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

One NBA insider thinks trade talks surrounding Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns could heat up at the 2024 trade deadline. 

The Minnesota Timberwolves went all-in under new President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly last summer, trading a boatload of picks and young players to acquire Rudy Gobert from the Utah Jazz. The result? The No. 8 seed and a first-round exit against the eventual champs.

Now, it wasn’t all doom and gloom for Minnesota. Karl-Anthony Towns only played in 29 games. It’s hard to have sweeping takeaways about a team’s ability to contend when its second-best player was absent or at half-strength pretty much the entire season.

On the flip side, Gobert’s arrival did speed up the timeline in Minneapolis. Anthony Edwards is the new franchise cornerstone as a ripe 21 years old, but the Wolves don’t have all their picks or a wealth of young talent around him. It’s time to start winning before the Gobert era goes bust.

If the Wolves start next season behind the proverbial eight-ball, does that put Karl-Anthony Towns’ name in the rumor mill? According to ESPN insider Tim MacMahon, it just might.

Minnesota Timberwolves could move Karl-Anthony Towns at 2024 trade deadline

"“There has been some discussion about Towns, but it shouldn’t be a surprise if that gets much louder as the trade deadline nears. The face of the franchise for the Timberwolves has transitioned to Edwards, fresh off signing a new potential supermax extension. If Minnesota is going to make another major change, it would need to be by trading Towns.”"

Towns is still a tremendous player, but the Wolves almost deliberately muddied his fit with the Gobert trade. The Nuggets frequently exploited Towns in various spots on defense in the first round. Offensively, how does Towns’ role shift with Edwards taking on primary duties? It’s an open-ended question.

Minnesota has plenty of talent on the roster and there’s still a real chance the current group works well enough to grab a higher playoff seed and put some of the trade speculation to rest. Towns at 100 percent is a different beast and he should, in theory, play just fine off of Edwards. He’s the best shooting seven-footer of his generation — maybe ever — and he’s a fluid operator in the pick-and-roll. Plus, he can anchor lineups when Edwards sits.

As MacMahon states, however, the uncertainty around Towns will increase if the Wolves get off to another slow start. With their draft capital sucked dry by the Gobert trade and Edwards firmly on the untouchables list, there aren’t many ways to initiate foundational change without moving Towns. He can still fetch a high price around the league if the Wolves want to better balance the roster and change the chemistry of the team.

Even at less than 100 percent health, Towns averaged 20.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 4.8 assists on 61.8 TS% when he did play in the regular season. He has improved drastically as a passer and defender in recent years. His lack of physicality in the playoffs was evident, but Towns is a long and mobile big who generally looks better when he’s not facing Nikola Jokic five games straight.

The Wolves shouldn’t be in any rush to trade KAT; he unlocks so many possibilities on offense. If the Wolves do find themselves in need of a major shake-up, however, Towns is the most likely star to get the boot.

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