It’s been a while since we last heard a good Karl-Anthony Towns trade rumor. But sure enough, the Minnesota Timberwolves are off to a slow start after trading for Rudy Gobert, and they’re starting to fly.
Bill Simmons had Ringer staff writer Michael Pina on his most recent podcast to discuss NBA happenings, and KAT’s name came up.
Simmons and Pina were discussing the New York Knicks and their no-win situation. The Knicks might be a play-in team and probably should tank, but they won’t in Year 3 of Leon Rose and Tom Thibodeau. Those guys aren’t going to lose on purpose.
So how do they rectify this situation? Pina throws out a name familiar to Wolves fans.
“Can I throw out a star that I think the Knicks could target, not this year, but in the offseason?” he asks.
“Let’s hear it,” Simmons responds.
“KAT,” said Pina.
“Oh man, I’m thinking that’s February,” Simmons said, laughing.
But is he a star? And is putting KAT in New York the worst idea of all time?
I can’t think of anybody who would turn off the Knicks fans faster and more furiously than the first KAT game when he gives the weird press conference after. I just think that – I can’t imagine a worse fit.
“I hear that, absolutely,” Pina backpedaled.
I think KAT, I totally understand the struggles that he’s had in the postseason, and I’ve listened to your wonderful podcast for years, and I know how you feel about Karl-Anthony Towns.
I think he’s just a super-special offensive player still, and obviously, there’s the connection with Leon Rose, who was his agent, and it’s also just a situation where –
“Wait,” interrupted Simmons, “you didn’t mention the situation he’s in now. I think that’s a factor.”
“That’s what I’m getting to now, yeah,” Pina said, laughing.
Minnesota is just, in my small sample size theory column, they won the saddest team award so far, and I don’t know how they really get out of the lull that they’re in without – like KAT’s kind of the exit strategy for them, and if you don’t trade him this year, you wait and see, and you be a little bit more patient here.
But because of what they just gave up to get Rudy Gobert, which is just potentially one of the worst trades of my entire life, and I like Rudy –
“In any sport,” interrupted Simmons, “not just basketball.”
“Yeah, I like Rudy a lot,” explained Pina, “but just watching him out of the spread pick-and-roll offense Quin Snyder had him in in Utah, he doesn’t know what to do on offense at all.
And they threw him the ball, there was a game the other night against the Cavs that they actually won, and there was one play where Anthony Edwards threw him a pass standing along the baseline, and it’s like the Timberwolves are expecting him to do something immediately with the ball, and he immediately traveled.
Like, it’s very uncomfortable and awkward, and the fit is very strange. And the defense is not super tip-top elite, which is why you got him in the first place. So I would explore moving on from KAT. I think that’s the only real way to get out of some of this mess and recoup some of the draft equity. Maybe R.J. Barrett looks better next to Anthony Edwards and Rudy Gobert, I don’t know.
It’s a mess in Minnesota. Kind of a bummer talking about them.
That’s a tough spot for the Minnesota portion of the podcast to end, but can you blame them? I guess it falls into the at least they’re talking about the Wolves camp. But, still, the national media doesn’t love this trade after seeing the team in action, and nor do many of the local fans, either.
More pertinently, there are many Wolves fans who would be fine trading Towns to New York. That feels weird to say, given that’s kind of an unfortunate trope: a star player leaves Minnesota for the bright lights of Broadway. And many fans are attached to KAT, who Flip Saunders drafted and has pledged loyalty to the tundra.
However, some of Towns’ antics and strange press conferences have worn thin on part of the fanbase, and the two-big experiment hasn’t worked out so far. Would a decent amount of the fanbase accept a Towns trade next offseason if this season goes haywire? Absolutely. And given how often these rumors pop up, it’s fathomable that it could happen.