Do Wolves say yes to this trade?
Karl-Anthony Towns was drafted first overall by the Timberwolves, a home-grown star who has developed into one of the best shooting big men in the NBA. He won Rookie of the Year, has made three All-Star Games, and was an All-NBA center twice. It’s hard to simply move on from such a player, especially if he hasn’t agitated for a trade.
This is the bed the Wolves have made, however, pushing in all of their chips for Rudy Gobert, and they have continued down that path by signing Naz Reid to an extension. They can’t pay three centers a total of $110 million in 2024-25; it’s insane that they’re considering paying them even $90 million this next season. The Wolves will almost certainly trade Towns at some point in the next year.
If so, why not use him to take a massive swing? Damian Lillard would instantly be the best player to wear a Timberwolves jersey since Kevin Garnett, at least until Anthony Edwards passes him by. His floor-spacing would make a Rudy Gobert – Kyle Anderson frontcourt viable, and the pick-and-roll game of Edwards and Gobert with Lillard running off-ball actions would be lethal.
The Wolves give up a fair bit in this deal, sending out Towns, Mike Conley, Wendell Moore, and a future pick swap, and they have to take back Jusuf Nurkic’s contract. They would be somewhat thin and would need some of their fliers to hit to fill out the rotation. Lillard and Gobert would be on a similar timeline, making the end of this window painful.
So do the Timberwolves say yes? In a different world, perhaps they don’t, leaning into their young talent and giving Towns more time to take a step forward. Given where things stand with their salary sheet and the balance of the roster, however, this is a deal they should make if they get the chance.