Karl-Anthony Towns Rumors: Knicks' Thibodeau 'Open' to Trading for T-Wolves Star

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 1, 2021

Minnesota Timberwolves' Karl-Anthony Towns reacts after a foul during the second half against the New York Knicks during an NBA basketball game Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, in New York. (Sarah Stier/Pool Photo via AP)
Sarah Stier/Associated Press

New York Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau would welcome a reunion with Karl-Anthony Towns were the Minnesota Timberwolves to shop the two-time All-Star, according to SNY's Ian Begley on The Putback.

Newsday's Steve Popper threw out a hypothetical trade in which the Knicks could package Julius Randle together with draft picks for a marquee player, with Towns used as an example. Begley responded with skepticism about the idea but added Thibodeau "just wants to win" and would be "open" to adding Towns. (Discussion begins at around 2:20 in video below.)

Trading Towns is probably the doomsday scenario for the Wolves because it would almost certainly trigger another rebuild. But it's a situation Minnesota may have to plan for.

While the 25-year-old is under contract for three more seasons, things could deteriorate to the point he demands a trade well before that.

James Harden has one more guaranteed year and a player option for 2022-23, but that didn't stop his relationship with the Houston Rockets from souring so much the Rockets had to move him on. Likewise, Anthony Davis was at least a year-and-a-half away from free agency when he requested his exit from the New Orleans Pelicans.

Having said all of that, there's nothing to indicate Towns is growing so frustrated with Minnesota's situation that he wants out.

Towns played under Thibodeau for two-and-a-half seasons and didn't have positive things to say about his former coach when the Wolves fired Thibodeau in January 2019.

Speaking with Cory Hepola of News Talk 830 WCCO in July 2019, the 6'11" center praised then-head coach Ryan Saunders and the culture the organization was building to help the young players on the roster. While not directly referencing Thibodeau, he implied how keeping the coach around would've had a deleterious effect:

"I'm very glad now we're introducing Culver and Noel to a culture that we possess now. You know, I don't think the situation before it would've been very beneficial for them.

"And that's a disrespect and a slap in the face to their development, you know, and I want to make sure that they develop not only as players, but as human beings and as men. And, uh, you know, that's what we're here to do. And in Minnesota, the thing, one of the biggest things where Ryan and with me is like, we have to make sure our culture is not based on just basketball. This is a family atmosphere."

Thibodeau has an obvious incentive to let bygones be bygones.

The Knicks haven't been a marquee free-agent destination in years. Players with Towns' talent aren't going to fall into their laps.

If this opportunity were to present itself, New York would be foolish not to reach out to Minnesota about a possible deal.


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