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The 3 Best Landing Spots for Karl-Anthony Towns

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Exploring three teams that could make a move for Karl-Anthony Towns and what it may take to get him.

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

One could say the Minnesota Timberwolves went “all-in” on their roster last year.

On draft night, they swapped first round picks with the Chicago Bulls and sent Zach LaVine East to bring four time All-Star Jimmy Butler West. With just one day before NBA free agency started, they dealt away their starting (and underwhelming) starting point guard Ricky Rubio to the Utah Jazz for a first round pick in 2018.

Then, they dished out a three year, $57 million contract to Jeff Teague (Rubio’s replacement) in free agency. That’s not including the other additions of Jamal Crawford and Taj Gibson.

The moves led to success, as the Timberwolves snapped their 14-year playoff drought by clinching the eighth seed to eventually lose to the Houston Rockets in five games. However, many would argue that, if Jimmy Butler had not been injured for 23 games, they would have been seeded even higher.

In that playoff series, though, tension quickly surfaced. Former Kentucky Wildcats star Karl-Anthony Towns, the team’s best player, only attempted 12 shots per game. There was drama in the media regarding the lack of shots Towns was demanding and/or receiving from the coaching staff.

Now, roughly a month after, Towns and the Timberwolves are reportedly “not in a good place internally.”

Interestingly enough, this was leaked just a few months after his teammate, Andrew Wiggins, was reportedly unhappy as the third option behind Butler and Towns.

Wiggins signed a five year extension worth nearly $150 million last October. It will be interesting to see what the Timberwolves do to address the reports this off-season.

As for Towns, the Wolves can go multiple ways with his situation. He’s never missed a game, was named an All-Star in just his third season and has proved to be one of the 2-3 best centers in the Association.

Option one is pretty clear, and that’s to meet and clear the air between the player and organization.

Option two, though, is to trade Towns. Towns has two years left on his contract before he hits restricted free agency. Add in that he’s just 22 years old and his price on the market should be sky high.

The only question would be if any team has the capital of both draft picks and players to acquire the young big.

When glancing at the charts, three teams come to mind. First up would be the draft pick-rich Boston Celtics. The Celtics have potentially four first round picks next year with three likely to land in the lottery. They also have young stars in Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier.

What they also have is a general manager, Danny Ainge, who has fleeced everyone he’s ever dealt with since taking over the team. The Kyrie Irving trade is full evidence of that. The Celtics have lots to offer, even enough to where they could overpay the Wolves into a deal they can’t refuse.

Offers starting with Al Horford seem like a no-brainer. However, his salary is max-value and unless the Celtics want to take on Wiggins’ ugly contract, they’ll have to lookout moving someone else. Besides, Horford excelled this season at the power forward position that allowed him to defend smaller bigs and switch on to wings. Having Towns at the center position would be the perfect formula for one of the best shooting and passing front courts in the NBA.

Ainge managed to grab the best player in Minnesota’s history, Kevin Garnett, in 2007 that led to a championship in 2008. Could he grab what looks like the second best in Towns?

The offer: Jayson Tatum, Terry Rozier along with the Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies 2019 first round picks

For Minnesota, they bolster their wing position with what looks like a super star in Tatum. With cap space freeing up next season, they’ll be able to re-sign their point guard of the future in Rozier. Adding two potential lottery picks in next year’s draft also increases the quality of the overall structure of the team.

The second landing spot for KAT would be out West in Phoenix. His former Kentucky teammate, Devin Booker, has been lighting it up for the Suns. The Suns finished with the worst record in the NBA this season and adding Towns would drastically change that.

Their roster is loaded with young talent, but they haven’t found the winning chemistry yet. Add in Towns, with Booker, and they have the chance to be really special and even attract upcoming big-name free agents.

The offer: Dragan Bender and the Suns first overall pick in the 2018 draft

For Minnesota, this allows them to take a chance on a ball-handling forward with tons of potential. It also gives them their Towns-replacement of Deandre Ayton or Marvin Bagley.

The last place Towns could land would be the heart of Hollywood. It also lands him with the much shinier team, the Lakers, and not the Clippers. The Lakers have been atrocious for multiple seasons, desperately trying to rebuild their historic franchise following the decline and departure of Kobe Bryant.

However, one would say their drafting hasn’t gone as well as one would have hoped. Their free agent decisions have been rather off as well. With the chance to meet with LeBron James this summer, adding an All-Star like Towns would be a great conversation starter.

Towns, along with James and the other big-name free agent they could sign (likely Paul George) would be a ferocious big-3 out West.

The offer: Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and the Lakers 2019 first round pick

For Minnesota, they again grab their point guard of the future with Ball. They also bolster their scoring on the wing with Ingram. The first round pick is a gamble they take on, hoping the Lakers whiff again in free agency and they aren’t very productive the following season.

All three spots would be suitable for Towns. Playing for the best coach with All-NBA talent in Boston, playing with his old teammate in Phoenix or under the bright lights with potentially the best player of all time in Los Angeles would be career-changing moves.

However, it’s just as (if not more) likely that he and the Wolves organization meet to resolve the turmoil.

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