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Karl-Anthony Towns Talks How to Build Camaraderie After Jimmy Butler Trade

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistNovember 15, 2018

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Karl-Anthony Towns celebrates a basket against the Oklahoma City Thunder during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018, in Minneapolis. The Timberwolves defeated the Thunder 104-88. (AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King)
Andy Clayton-King/Associated Press

Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns said Wednesday he's trying to create a "different culture" within the organization after the blockbuster trade sending Jimmy Butler to the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday.

Towns told Malika Andrews of ESPN.com he wants to help bring a winning atmosphere to Minnesota, similar to what he felt at St. Joseph High School in New Jersey—where he captured three straight state titles—and the University of Kentucky.

"All those teams I was on that were successful were the ones that everyone had love for each other and had fun," he said. "Things that seem minuscule—joking around, laughing, conversing, all those things that seem childish—that is what builds camaraderie."

Teammates, who described Towns as "goofy" to Andrews, said he's returned to his jovial self following the exit of Butler following persistent rumors of tension between the two.

In July, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times reported Butler had become "frustrated with the nonchalant attitudes of younger teammates—specifically Karl-Anthony Towns."

When the 29-year-old Houston native returned to the Wolves last month following an extended hiatus amid a trade request, ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski noted Towns was one of the shooting guard's prominent targets during a heated practice session.

For his part, Butler downplayed any lingering tension with the Timberwolves' franchise cornerstone shortly before his trade was announced.

"Me and KAT are cool. I ain't got a problem with KAT," he told Sam Amick of The Athletic last week. "Don't nobody got a problem with nobody, I'm telling you. Everything ain't what it seems."

Nevertheless, it seems Towns and the Wolves are trending in a more positive direction since the high-profile swap with Philly.

Minnesota, which was 4-9 and riding a five-game losing streak following Butler's final game with the team, has won two straight. The 23-year-old Towns averaged 25.0 points, 18.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.0 blocks in those victories.

Although the sample size is too small to draw any definitive conclusions, the early signs both on the court and in the locker room suggest Towns is more comfortable with Butler now playing for the Sixers.

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