Over the last several seasons, Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns has established himself as one of the most offensively versatile big men in the NBA. Not only can he dominate in the post, but he also has the elite shooting ability to make him a scoring threat from virtually anywhere on the floor. Few centers in NBA history can boast as versatile a game as Towns.
For that reason, the Timberwolves have embraced Towns as their franchise player, signing him to a five-year super-max deal in 2018. Yet with the Timberwolves struggling to compete yet again, trade rumors have already started swirling around Towns. Let’s take a closer look at Towns’ accomplishments as a player, as well as how he has responded to insinuations that he wants to be traded out of Minnesota.
Karl-Anthony Towns becomes an NBA star
Karl-Anthony Towns’ basketball gifts were readily apparent even in his college days. As a result, the Timberwolves selected Towns with the first pick of the 2015 NBA draft. His transition from college hoops to the NBA was a seamless one. Towns started all 82 games his rookie season, averaging 18.3 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks per game while shooting 54.2% from the floor. Those numbers were impressive enough for Towns to be unanimously named NBA Rookie of the Year.
While many players experience a noticeable sophomore slump after such an impressive debut, Towns only improved in his second year in the league. He increased his scoring average to 25.1 points, while also putting up 12.3 rebounds per game.
Since then, Towns’ numbers have remained about the same. In fact, he quickly became one of the most consistent players in the league when it came to his performance stats. Yet Towns has continued to improve his game in recent years — most notably in the volume of 3-pointers he takes. This year he is shooting 8.2 3-pointers per game — almost twice the number he was shooting last year. He’s also canning them at an impressive 41.0% clip.
Towns trade rumors in the air
On the surface, Towns appears to be one of the least likely players in the entire league to get traded. After all, he’s a bonafide superstar who just signed a new five-year contract with his team. That’s the kind of move that, historically, indicates that a player is in it for the long haul.
Yet the Timberwolves are currently mired in yet another disappointing season, and will likely miss the playoffs. Through 46 games, they have a dismal 15-31 record, and they can’t seem to build any sort of identity around their franchise star. As we saw with Anthony Davis in New Orleans, top-tier players in that kind of situation often get frustrated and decide they want out.
For that reason, multiple teams around the league have been keeping an eye on the situation in Minnesota, including the Golden State Warriors. Should they receive any indication that Karl-Anthony Towns may want to force his way out, they will certainly be ready to pounce with an enticing trade offer.
Towns’ has the perfect reaction to the rumors
Despite the speculations about Karl-Anthony Towns’ discontent, the Timberwolves have maintained the position that they will not trade their star center. President of basketball operations Gersson Rosas made that abundantly clear, calling Towns untouchable. Rosas also made it clear that the Timberwolves were going to do whatever they can to help Towns achieve his potential.
To his credit, Towns isn’t letting trade rumors impact his performance. In fact, he has stuck to a similar line when asked about the trade speculation.
To begin with, he downplayed the talk as the kind of baseless speculation that media members engage in just to create a story. He also reiterated that he is committed to the Timberwolves and that he feels grateful for the support of his coaches and front office staff. Still, if the Timberwolves continue to struggle, Karl-Anthony Towns’ feelings might end up changing in the months and years to come.