NBA Rumors: Does this KAT to Trail Blazer scenario hold water?

Mar 7, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) reacts during the first quarter against the Portland Trail Blazers at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 7, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) reacts during the first quarter against the Portland Trail Blazers at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports /

There is a growing consensus that due to financial pressure and a growing need to pay both Anthony Edwards and Jaden McDaniels exorbitant sums of money, the Minnesota Timberwolves will be forced to part ways with one of their current highly compensated players. That highly-paid player has been identified as center/power forward Karl-Anthony Towns.

It isn’t that the Minnesota Timberwolves no longer need Karl-Anthony Towns. While the team did manage to win enough games (a record of 42-40) to earn an eighth-seeded spot, two chances to win during the NBA Play-In Tournament, and ultimately a chance to compete in the NBA Playoffs, this team really fell short of expectations. Much of the disappointment can be attributed to the absence of Towns for 53 games during the 2022-23 NBA season.

The incentive for the Minnesota Timberwolves to consider a trade of Towns now is the new NBA/NBPA agreement, which has upped the penalties for NBA teams to exceed annual salary cap limits.

There is also a growing consensus that the Portland Trail Blazers, in an effort to placate star PG Damian Lillard, will trade the third overall draft pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, and whichever players are necessary to land a true NBA start to pair with Lillard.

New regulations and trade rumors still face a reality check

The new regulations were simply gasoline poured onto smoking NBA Rumors of an imminent trade that sprang into existence after the bench brawl between Timberwolves teammates Rudy Gobert and Kyle Anderson. Since that event, trade rumors naming the Minnesota Timberwolves have been non-stop, both from NBA analysts and casually created by fans.

But sometimes those fan-generated scenarios need a reality check:

The problem with the trade listed above is that the Portland Trail Blazers truly are enamored with young shooting guard Shaedon Sharpe, and the Minnesota Timberwolves have less than any logical reason to press the issue.

The Portland Trail Blazers are incentivized to make a bold move to acquire a present-day NBA star, and although he is coming off an injury-riddled season, Minnesota Timberwolves PF Karl-Anthony Towns still checks the boxes.  That would do more than add a frontcourt phenom to the Trail Blazers roster. Towns should be enough to settle Damian Lillard’s unrest with the team.

What could the Timberwolves get on draft night?

But even so, what can they offer the Minnesota Timberwolves for Karl-Anthony Towns? Well, the Portland Trail Blazers are one of three teams who could tempt the Timberwolves into trading Karl-Anthony Towns on draft night. So what might that trade look like?

Let’s break down the pieces:

  1. Anfernee Simons – 35.0 minutes | 21.1 points | 2.6 rebounds | 4.1 assists
  2. Jusuf Nurkic – 26.8 minutes | 13.3 points | 9.1 rebounds | 2.9 assists
  3. Karl-Anthony Towns – 33.0 minutes | 20.8 points | 8.1 rebounds | 4.8 assists

While the net result of this exchange would be to add an additional $4.9 million to the Timberwolves payroll, plus the cost of whomever the team selects with the third overall pick of the 2023 NBA Draft, the Timberwolves add financial flexibility and future roster flexibility.

What about one draft pick for Towns, while the Timberwolves traded four first-round picks for C Rudy Gobert? Well, the Timberwolves gambled that their first-round picks through 2029 would not be lottery picks, while the third-overall pick could land an amazingly talented player.

What that means is that the Timberwolves would almost surely survive not re-signing backup center Naz Reid (saving up to $12 million), and would have the opportunity to add a very talented player in the 2023 NBA Draft. Like who? Well, we will touch on that in a future article.

Wolves Anthony Edwards off-season regimen may shock you. light. Trending

The Minnesota Timberwolves are pivoting from featuring Karl-Anthony Towns to reassembling their roster to complement young shooting guard Anthony Edwards. That could start as quickly as during the 2023 NBA Draft.

Will it happen? Perhaps, perhaps not. But the stars are aligning for something to happen for the Minnesota Timberwolves to restore financial fitness to this team. And to find out what that means, it looks like we will need to stay tuned.