Karl-Anthony Towns is one of the brightest young stars in the NBA. His 7-foot frame, plus scoring ability from all over the court is basically the model for the modern NBA big man.
As with all small market teams that land star players, there are questions whether the Minnesota Timberwolves will be able to retain the former No. 1 pick long-term. The Timberwolves entered last season with sky-high expectations, after trading for former Chicago Bulls star wing Jimmy Butler to put alongside Towns.
The team got off to a pretty hot start, but wound up going 47-35, clinching the eight seed in the Western Conference Playoffs by one game. Minnesota won one game in its first round series against the Houston Rockets, but eventually fell 4-1.
Towns is set to become a restricted free agent in 2019. The Wolves can offer him the most money, having drafted him back in 2015, but not everyone is sold on him being on the team at the start of next season.
ESPN NBA Analyst Jalen Rose thinks that Karl-Anthony Towns could be traded this summer.
On his show Jalen & Jacoby, Rose said that he would be “shocked” if Towns and fellow former top pick Andrew Wiggins were both on the team at the start of the 2018 season.
If Minnesota has its way, it would definitely rather move Wiggins. The 2014 No. 1 pick has really struggled defensively in the NBA, and isn’t the dynamic offensive player to make up for it. However, he is also the much harder piece to move for a big return.
If Towns is the odd-man out, however, Rose has an idea of where he may end up: the Phoenix Suns, to reunite with former Kentucky teammate Devin Booker.
“If I’m Minnesota, I don’t trade Karl-Anthony Towns. I think he’s that 20/10/2 guy that represents the new era of basketball in the game, that can still shoot the three, that can still make a play off the bounce. So I don’t move him.
But when I see he and Booker googly-eyeing each other in Phoenix and on Twitter, it lets me know that if he found a change of scenery, it wouldn’t be the worst thing for him.”
It seems unlikely that this deal would come together, because Minnesota would almost definitely want the No. 1 pick in today’s NBA Draft. The Suns seem pretty set on taking Arizona star center Deandre Ayton. However, it is something to keep an eye on down the road, as Phoenix has been floated as an off-the-cuff option for numerous max-contract guys recently.
As for Wiggins, a move with him would be far less shocking.