Over the last couple of months, there has been some brewing internal tension around the Minnesota Timberwolves involving star big man Karl-Anthony Towns‘ unhappiness with the franchise. That led to rumors that he could want out of Minnesota if things continue to trend south. However, the Timberwolves may have gone forward in the right direction in a significant way with the acquisition of D’Angelo Russell before Thursday’s trade deadline. That begs the questions about whether that will be enough to keep Towns with the franchise for the long haul beyond his current deal.
Karl-Anthony Towns’ unhappiness in Minnesota
Through his first few seasons in the league, Towns has emerged as one of the most talented big men. His production has already earned him a pair of All-Star selections while gaining recognition as one of the top players in the NBA.
However, the Timberwolves have been heading in reverse over the last two years since Jimmy Butler’s departure as they haven’t looked anywhere near a playoff-caliber team. That inconsistency has seen the team drop their previous 13 games, including a 70-day gap since Towns last experienced a win with the franchise.
All of that understandably led to him voicing his disgruntlement with the situation, which flared out after Wednesday’s loss to the Atlanta Hawks, according to Jon Kwayczynski of the Athletic.
“I’ve been losing for a long time. I’m not trying to do that shit anymore. So every possession means a lot. You obviously see my patience running low with a lot of things. There’s no excuses. We gotta get it done.”
Towns had reached a boiling point, which drew some significant concerns from the Timberwolves to respond positively to appease their star big man. The front office didn’t waste any time by making a blockbuster trade to acquire star talent to play alongside Towns.
The Timberwolves acquire D’Angelo Russell
In the weeks leading up to the trade deadline, there was much chatter around the Warriors with reported interest in star guard D’Angelo Russell. The Timberwolves remained the primary suitor for his services, especially over the last couple of days.
Following a substantial four-team trade that helped Minnesota acquire additional assets, the team has finally executed the deal to land Russell on Thursday morning just hours before the trade deadline, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
It is quite well-known that Russell and Towns share a strong bond off the court that they have developed over the last several years since entering the NBA in the same draft class. That likely played a part in the Timberwolves making such a strong push to land the talented young guard.
The question now becomes about whether it could help keep Towns with the franchise beyond his current deal.
Will D’Angelo Russell keep Karl-Anthony Towns in Minnesota?
Things have been heading in the wrong direction with the Timberwolves over the last couple of months, but adding a young promising point guard in Russell could be huge.
It gives the Timberwolves another piece to build around with their tandem being well ahead of their primes and create something special with the franchise. Towns is currently in the first year of his five-year, $158.2 million max deal that runs through the 2023-24 season.
Meanwhile, Russell is in the first year of his four-year, $117.3 million max contract that extends through the 2022-23 campaign. That gives them an extended window to see if they can excel together on the court.
Ultimately, Town’s commitment to the franchise will hinge on success as the team has reached the playoffs just once in his first three-plus seasons in the league. The acquisition of Russell could go a long way in helping the franchise achieve that with what could finally be a defined sense of direction.