Despite their first winning season in 13 years, along with their first playoff berth in 14 years, all isn’t as well in Minnesota as one might think.
Per reports, Karl-Anthony Towns is “not in a good place internally” with his organization.
The Minnesota Timberwolves took Towns first overall in the 2015 draft, one year after trading cornerstone Kevin Love for the first overall pick in the 2014 draft, Andrew Wiggins.
Towns and Wiggins grew together during their first two years before they were joined by 4-time All-Star Jimmy Butler.
With a big-three of his own, Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau managed to get his team past the Denver Nuggets at the end of the season to end Minnesota’s 14-year playoff drought.
They won one game agains the top-overall seed Houston Rockets before their season came to an end in the first round of this spring’s playoffs.
One would be a fool not to think this was a successful year. However, it looks like Towns isn’t the only one who is a bit disgruntled.
According to Darren Wolfson of ESPN, Wiggins “whispered” to teammates back in March regarding his unhappiness being the “third option” behind both Butler and Towns. This is despite Wiggins having a higher usage rate (23.4) than Towns (22.9).
With Butler having just one more fully guaranteed year left on his contract (the second year being a player option), on top of the reported fatigue between the front office and Towns and/or Wiggins, the Timberwolves certainly have some decisions to make.
Both Towns and Wiggins took a major dip in points per game this season. A dip was certainly expected by adding Butler to the team, but four and six points (respectively) is more than a regular dip, especially since the dips followed career-years by both players.
Considering there isn’t any explanation as to why Towns is reportedly at odds with Minnesota, it’s hard to speculate why/where they would trade him. But when looking at Wiggins’s disagreement about his role as the third option on the team, it makes much more sense to move on from a rather disappointing, former first pick and attempt to mend the relationship with Towns.
Some options that come to mind would be swapping Wiggins with Toronto’s Demar Derozan, who also seems to have seen the end of his time in the North. Others, of course, are to teams with rich draft capital or a pool of young players.
One of these teams, ironically, comes with rich basketball history: the Boston Celtics.
Turn back the calendar to 2007 regarding the Kevin Garnett blockbuster.
Minnesota could swap both Towns and Wiggins for, say, one of Jaylen Brown/Jayson Tatum and Al Horford. It wouldn’t be ridiculous of them to ask for 1-2 draft picks, either.
This gives Minnesota some cap flexibility, along with a fresh but relevant restart. Boston’s cap sheet gets slightly more expensive but certainly more talented with three former number one picks on their roster.
It’s rare a star is dealt in the NBA, simply because some teams go a decade before landing one. However, the former Kyrie Irving situation in Cleveland is proof that anything can happen.
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