Karl-Anthony Towns returned to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday for the first time since December 13, allowing the big man to finally address the rumors and speculation surrounding his supposed unhappiness in Minneapolis.
Per Chris Hine of the Star Tribune, Towns brushed off all the trade rumors and "reaffirmed his commitment to the Wolves" (note: tweet contains profanity):
Towns played 28 minutes in his return against the Indiana Pacers, going 9-of-21 shooting from the floor with 27 points and five rebounds in the 116-114 loss. Seeing Towns on the floor Friday was only the second-most reassuring event for Minnesota fans on the night, though.
His confirmation he's on the same page as both head coach Ryan Saunders and team president Gersson Rosas is quite a relief for the Timberwolves as the February 6 trade deadline approaches.
Towns' comments also align with those of Rosas earlier in the week.
Rosas was asked directly about the future of Towns in Minnesota and noted the team's plan involves building around the versatile big man.
"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."
It's hard to ever fully silence NBA rumors these days—especially around the trade deadline—but it seems highly unlikely Towns will be going anywhere. It appears potential suitors for Towns will need to look elsewhere as they retool and move forward.