1. Karl-Anthony Towns
KAT has been mentioned in trade rumors for months, but trading him seems unlikely with the Timberwolves atop the Western Conference. Towns has found his place playing next to Rudy Gobert and remains an elite shooter and scorer. He is one of the toughest covers in the NBA but could be headed out of Minnesota.
The Timberwolves' cap constraints could force the move as his four-year $222.6 million extension kicks in next season. Anthony Edwards is their best player, and the front office cannot recoup the price they paid for Rudy Gobert. That leaves KAT as the big money salary to trade away. The three-time All-Star would likely fetch a hefty price, and Minnesota could explore it before the deadline if they believe they can upgrade their roster with the talent acquired in the deal.
Their new ownership group can solve this problem. If they are willing to spend into the second tax apron to keep this roster together, Minnesota can continue building around Edwards, Gobert, and Towns. They must make a deep playoff run this year, which looks possible with the Wolves in first place after 32 games.
The Minnesota Timberwolves will be active on the trade market before the Feb. 8 deadline. If they plan on going into the second tax apron, they must upgrade their roster now. Avoiding it means making moves too. The front office has plenty riding on the next month-plus, so stay tuned to see how it all shakes out.