Knicks Trade Rumors: Karl-Anthony Towns Expected to Be Monitored by NYK

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 26, 2019

MINNEAPOLIS, MN -  DECEMBER 13: Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves looks on during the game against the LA Clippers on December 13, 2019 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The New York Knicks "are expected to monitor" Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns should Towns become available in a trade, according to the New York Post's Marc Berman.

With the team striking out in free agency—most recently seeing Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant sign with the Brooklyn Nets—Berman wrote the Knicks are focusing on a plan to acquire a star player who has become "disgruntled" in his current surroundings.

Towns is in the first year of his five-year, $158.2 million super-max extension.

The Timberwolves are 10-19 and 13th in the Western Conference. It's plausible Minnesota could be faced with a dilemma down the line not dissimilar to the New Orleans Pelicans, who traded Anthony Davis when it became clear he wasn't signing another contract.

Two questions immediately jump out when it comes to projecting a Towns trade to the Knicks, though.

It's impossible to say whether the current front-office regime would even be in charge by the time Minnesota could be willing to deal him. At some point, president of basketball operations Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry will have to answer for the team's constant failures on the court.

Newsday's Steve Popper reported Nov. 30 that some inside the Toronto Raptors believe Knicks owner James Dolan could make a move for Masai Ujiri, the Raptors' president of basketball operations. According to Berman, one team executive said New York views Ujiri as "the chosen one."

Ujiri made a short-term gamble on Kawhi Leonard, which paid off brilliantly as the Raptors won a title.

But given the Knicks' present situation, it's difficult to say whether they'll prioritize a blockbuster trade over anything else.

Along with that, the team doesn't have much in the way of trade assets, having used Kristaps Porzingis to get the cap space that would have allowed them to sign Irving and Durant.

The Lakers not only had a package of draft picks they could send to New Orleans but also Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and Brandon Ingram.

Berman noted the Knicks got a 2021 first-round pick and a 2023 first-rounder as part of the Porzingis trade. Both of those picks belong to the Dallas Mavericks, though, so they're more likely than not going to be out of the lottery.

If the Timberwolves are ready to trigger a rebuild—which trading Towns would almost certainly mean—they'd surely be able to get a better deal than what the Knicks could offer, even in a few years.