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Karl-Anthony Towns: ‘Championship or bust’ with Minnesota Timberwolves

Andrew Buller-Russ

Fresh off signing a four-year, $224 million contract extension to stay with the Minnesota Timberwolves through the 2027-28 season, Karl-Anthony Towns sounds like a player who couldn’t be happier with the organization’s offseason moves. Yet, he also knows what the expectations are with the acquisition of Rudy Gobert, and he’s not backing down from the pressure.

After reaching the first round of the Western Conference playoffs in the 2021-22 season, the standard has already been set in Minnesota. Only now, there won’t be any more excuses should they fail to win a playoff series with their new-look big-three.

Towns and the Timberwolves announced the max-contract extension on Friday, giving KAT his first chance to speak to the media since the blockbuster Gobert trade came together. We’ve collected a few of KAT’s quotes from today’s presser down below.

Karl-Anthony Towns, Timberwolves all-in going forward

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Utah Jazz
Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Karl-Anthony Towns has never shied away from his intention to stick around in Minnesota from the moment he was drafted, with him noting it was his “dream to live every day of his NBA career as a Wolf“. Only, that idea was never guaranteed, not without the roster to match KAT’s desire to win. That worry no longer exists.

Adding Rudy Gobert, a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, to a core featuring Anthony Edwards, D’Angelo Russell, and Jaden McDaniels gives the T-Wolves a chance to compete for the NBA Finals from day one.

Despite the Wolves not being the popular championship pick, Towns says he and his team feel an NBA title is the expectation.

“It’s go time. The (Rudy Gobert) trade happens. There’s no more time. There are no more excuses. We’ve got to get it done now. It’s championship now or bust. Got to go out there and get the job done.”

Karl-Anthony Towns at contract extension press conference

As Towns mentioned, it’s go time. Now that the Timberwolves have traded four of their future first round selections plus giving the Jazz the right to swap another, there won’t be a large influx of talent coming in the future.

Not to mention, any picks they do have are likely to land in the 20s, otherwise, the trade is pretty much a failure. But from the sounds of things, anything short of a championship is a failure, which is the right approach to have. That’s the only way trading all those picks away works out.

Chemistry shouldn’t be an issue in the Twin Cities, as it’s clear Towns is a big fan of the Gobert trade acquisition. He mentioned how Gobert and his skill sets work perfectly off one another. Towns, widely considered one of the best offensive bigs of all-time, paired with one of the best defensive bigs of all time theoretically should form a potent duo, even if it’s not the norm around the NBA.

“I expect a lot of winning, for sure. I want to win. I’m not up here just blowing smoke, I really wanna try to bring a championship run here to Minnesota, and I think Rudy adds a huge component to that. He’s gonna be a massive part of us being a championship team. And my job is to help him as much as he is going to help me. His strengths are my weaknesses and my weaknesses are his strengths. So we’ll be able to play off each other,” said Towns.

The Timberwolves figure they don’t need to try and match what everyone else does. If they can be the best team to go big, doing so with the best big-man pairing in basketball, why can’t the Wolves have success?

Their budding superstar Anthony Edwards will still be the one to carry the team, only unlike we’ve seen in other NBA cities like Dallas with Luka Doncic or Atlanta with Trae Young, Ant won’t have to shoulder quite as much of the load. Instead, he’ll have a strong group of complementary scorers with KAT and D’Angelo Russell to go with what will be a top-10 defensive unit led by the Stifle Tower.

Now it’s up to coach Chris Finch to get the most out of the most talented unit he’s ever coached. Who knows how the twin towers lineup will translate to the court, but having everyone on board is a strong way to start.

Related: 4x NBA champ says Anthony Edwards has more talent than Dwyane Wade