The Minnesota Timberwolves are under new guidance, which likely means committing to building around Anthony Edwards while keeping a Karl-Anthony Towns trade off the table.
Now that KAT is eligible for a massive supermax contract from making another All-NBA team, he’s fully expected to sign a four-year, $211 million extension later this offseason.
But this is the NBA, where things can be unpredictable. Even though Towns has remained 10 toes down with building the Wolves into a winner in the Twin Cities, he doesn’t make the decisions at the top.
Or maybe Towns will have a change of heart and dream of teaming up with other stars elsewhere. As I said, crazier things have happened.
Here are five ideal Karl-Anthony Towns trade scenarios that could pop up this NBA offseason, even if it’s incredibly unlikely.
Celtics trade for Minnesota’s All-Star to form Big 3, again
- Timberwolves get: Marcus Smart, Robert Williams III, 2024 first-round pick, 2026 first-round pick (both unprotected)
- Celtics get: Karl-Anthony Towns
This trade probably fails to bring back enough value to the Wolves, but they do get two starters in return while clearing a ton of future cap space. The two picks are so far in the future that they may end up being valuable, but they won’t do anything to help Ant right away.
The Celtics are a complicated trade partner in that they don’t have a first-round pick in 2022 and NBA rules prevent a team from trading their first-rounder in back-to-back seasons.
Williams would certainly help improve the Wolves in the paint from a defensive standpoint, but at 6-foot-8, he does nothing to improve their size. Smart of course was the Defensive Player of the Year, but if it comes at the cost of trading KAT, I’m not sure this one moves the needle. Unless you’re a part of the Celtics organization.
Karl-Anthony Towns gets sent to Indiana
- Timberwolves get: Myles Turner, Buddy Hield, Isaiah Jackson, 2022 first-round pick (No. 6), and 2023 first-round pick
- Pacers get: Karl-Anthony Towns
This trade won’t bring back a superstar to the T-Wolves, but getting the sixth pick gives them a chance to find another star who can grow alongside Anthony Edwards and Jaden McDaniels. Plus, let’s be honest, Myles Turner and Buddy Hield offer two players who can provide heavy minutes from the start.
Turner can fill a lot of the same roles that Towns currently does, hitting threes, blocking shots and grabbing boards as he mans the paint, only at a much-reduced cost. 2021 first-round pick Isaiah Jackson presents some rim protection potential and could someday start at the four if he can surpass Jarred Vanderbilt, and next years first gives them yet another chance to add a nice piece to what would suddenly be a younger and more affordable core.
Detroit Pistons jumpstart their rebuild with KAT
- Timberwolves get: Jerami Grant, Isaiah Stewart, Killian Hayes, 2022 first-round pick (No. 5), 2025 first-round pick
- Pistons get: Karl-Anthony Towns
Once again this trade resets the Timberwolves’ timeline in a way, giving them a chance to bring in a younger talent while shedding the future salary commitment to Towns. No one expects Isaiah Stewart, or Beef Stew, to replace the production of Towns, but Beef Stew in conjunction with Jerami Grant can be two impact players who can fill out the frontcourt.
Killian Hayes and the future first are simply bonuses at this point. There’s been no indication of Hayes ready to break out, but at just 20 years old, two seasons removed from being the seventh overall pick, the Wolves will take a chance on him reaching his potential.
Minnesota Timberwolves, Phoenix Suns swap bigs
- Timberwolves get: Deandre Ayton, 2023 first-round pick, 2025 first-round pick
- Suns get: Karl-Anthony Towns
Of all the bigs who might be available, if the Wolves actually were to consider trading Towns, Deandre Ayton may be their best chance at getting a center who can someday match his production, although not as a shooter.
The Wolves’ offense would certainly struggle with a trade of this magnitude and it wouldn’t necessarily put them on a path to contention right away, which is the biggest reason why this trade doesn’t quite make sense for Minnesota, but it’s hard to find any Towns trade that does this offseason.
Timberwolves pair two of the most explosive NBA players together
- Timberwolves get: Zion Williamson, Jonas Valanciunas
- Pelicans get: Karl-Anthony Towns
If the New Orleans Pelicans aren’t ready to commit to Zion Williamson, maybe the Timberwolves would be. New team president of basketball operations Tim Connelly has some history dealing with injured stars with Michael Porter Jr. in Denver, and maybe he’s willing to roll the dice on Williamson as well.
For the Wolves getting Jonas Valanciunas to replace Towns at center is a simple replacement, where the 6-foot-11, 265-pound player’s size plays effectively as both a paint scorer and rebounding hog. He can also step out and hit the trey on occasion, with a career 3P% of .359.
Of course, the best part of this trade is Williamson, who, if healthy, could form a potent duo with Ant for years to come. They’re two of the best dunkers in basketball, and would certainly sell out the Target Center on a nightly basis.