The Minnesota Timberwolves aren't afraid to acknowledge all the trade speculation surrounding big man Karl-Anthony Towns. Maybe that's because they don't have any plans to move their franchise center.
Speaking to Chris Hine of the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, first-year team president Gersson Rosas went on the record about the team's thinking regarding Towns and it's clear developing a team around him remains the priority.
"Everything that we've done is to help Karl be the best player he can be, the best person he can be," Rosas told Hine. "I know he really appreciates that. You look at the facts: He's had his best season. We're fully optimizing who he is, what he's about. We're challenging him as a player and as a leader to be the best that he can, and we have the potential to do something here that's built around him to allow him to be the best player he can be.
"That will allow us to be the best organization and the best team we can be on the floor. We have an ownership group and a leadership group here that's given us every resource to be successful. We've been aggressive at every step of the way during my short tenure here, whether it's the draft or free agency, to bring in high-level talent.
"There's going to be challenges along that path, but I'm extremely confident we're on the same page and there's full commitment from every level here to make this successful. There's always noise in whatever pursuit you have. Unfortunately even though that noise is unwarranted or unconfirmed, we don't allow that to distract us from our goal of building a championship organization here."
It's important to note that Rosas was responding to a question about Towns' perceived happiness in Minnesota. Given that he's signed through the 2024 season, the T-Wolves have some time to fulfill their promise of building a contender with Towns as the focal point—unless he goes full-Jimmy Butler and forces his way out of town.
The timing of Rosas' remarks are what's most important here. With the February 6 NBA trade deadline fast approaching, rumors about Towns being moved will only start picking up. Already Towns has been tied to the Golden State Warriors, New York Knicks and Phoenix Suns.
That Towns hasn't played since December 13 with a knee sprain only adds to the speculation of a possible trade.
Rosas just sent a loud and clear message that he isn't going anywhere despite the team's 15-24 record as of Wednesday.
"I want the fans to know that we feel their pain, and it's why we're doing what we're doing," Rosas told Hine. "We're not going to do the short-term fix. We're not going to cut corners to get a win here, a win there. Or to just make it to the playoffs one year to say we've arrived. That's already been tried here. What we want to build is a sustainable model that's going to allow us to consistently be successful to build a contending team and have success at the highest level."
Fans should keep in mind that Rosas previously worked with general manager Daryl Morey as the Houston Rockets' Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations—as well as Director of Player Personnel and Scouting. Morey hasn't been afraid to make blockbuster trades in Houston, having acquired both James Harden and Russell Westbrook in recent years. If a trade for Towns is coming, Rosas' experiences should guide him in the right direction.
Still, that's pretty far off for the Timberwolves. They want to win with Towns and have a few more years to prove they can.