5 Minnesota Timberwolves who shouldn't be back next season

Denver Nuggets v Minnesota Timberwolves - Game Four
Denver Nuggets v Minnesota Timberwolves - Game Four / David Berding/GettyImages
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1. Karl-Anthony Towns

Yes, he's a four-time All-Star and one of the best big-man shooters to have ever lived. But, Karl-Anthony Towns is raking in an egregious amount of money. The Timberwolves power forward is slated to make nearly $50 million next season. And in 2027-28, he'll rack up $61 million.

Next year, the quintet of Anthony Edwards, Rudy Gobert, Jaden McDaniels, Naz Reid, and Towns will combine to earn roughly $165 million. A fair warning, the NBA's salary cap for 2024-25 is projected to be $141 million.

Include Mike Conley and Nickeil Alexander-Walker in with the quintet mentioned above and the Wolves are above the first salary cap apron. Several ramifications for first-apron teams exist. Such as, teams can’t acquire players in sign-and-trade deals in the offseason if the incoming salary keeps them above the apron.

The Minnesota ownership has some difficult decisions looming. Whether it be Glen Taylor or the potential ownership group of Marc Lorre and Alex Rodriguez, some salary cap wizardry will be in the works.

After acknowledging Towns' huge salary, he may very well be the trade fodder. The 28-year-old big played another excellent season of basketball—averaging 21.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 2.2 triples per game. The Wolves' offense was better with Towns on the court, but his defense told a different tale.

Towns has vastly improved on the defensive end, even profiling as a defensive stopper against MVP Nikola Jokic in the Western Conference Semifinals. Throughout the regular season, Towns' defense was come and go. He barely held his opposition to a negative field goal differential. And the Wolves' opponents shot a better effective field goal percentage with Towns on the hardwood.

Trading Towns is a two-way street. The Timberwolves' defense is already elite, thus shipping the big man out of Minneapolis won't hurt the squad's defense. On the other hand, his proficient offense is necessary as he's Edwards' 1B option on offense. Nevertheless, Towns scoring by his lonesome has never coincided with a successful team record.

Dealing Towns' frontcourt mate, Gobert, may be a better bet. Yet where Gobert differs is his direct correlation with top-notch defense and team success. His offense isn't in the same stratosphere as Towns, but the four-time Defensive Player of the Year is in a world of his own on the defensive end of the court.

Finally, Towns' playoff performance may have left a sour taste in the fanbase and the Wolves' brass mouths. In the Western Conference Finals, Towns averaged 19.6 points, but he shot an abysmal 37.9 percent from the floor and 24.2 percent from downtown.

Is Reid an adequate replacement? Yes, but he's certainly not on the same level as Towns. However, Towns' contract is forcing difficult decisions to be made, and slotting in Reid will allow for continued cohesion.