Scott: After Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiidyou can make the case that Karl Anthony Towns is the third most talented center in the NBA today. Towns is owed nearly $70 million guaranteed over the next two seasons and will be eligible for a supermax contract extension after earning All-NBA Third Team honors. Now, the question becomes is he going to be worth a supermax extension?
One executive who spoke with HoopsHype predicted that Connelly will extend KAT (Towns). The executive said, “It’s hard to get players in Minnesota. Maybe he tries to negotiate less than a supermax, but what leverage does he have?”
One NBA scout for a Western Conference team told me, “Quite frankly, I wouldn’t give him the supermax. I don’t think he deserves it. He hasn’t done anything to become a supermax guy. He’s super talented, but he’s kind of flaky.”
Towns and the Timberwolves have only made the playoffs twice in his seven seasons.
Krawczynski: I’ve been around him for seven years and around this team for a lot longer than that. One thing you do know is that when you have very high-level players in Minnesota, you’ve got to do whatever you can to keep them. I fully expect that Karl-Anthony Towns will get a max offer from the Timberwolves and that he’ll sign that max offer.
I understand you can look at his playoff track record. He had a couple of good games against Memphis and a couple of games that were underwhelming. He doesn’t have a long history of playoff success to go off. I think what you have to look at when you’re evaluating what Towns is as a player is what this organization has been like around him for those seven years.
Connelly is the seventh lead basketball executive in Towns’ seven years in Minnesota. He’s had five head coaches in seven years. He has had one season where there was a teammate on his roster that made the All-Star Game the year prior when Jimmy Butler came and joined the Timberwolves. He hasn’t been surrounded by any stability or any quality in terms of teammates for most of the time here.
Is he the perfect player? Absolutely not. He has a lot to work on. He has to get better defensively and control his emotions more. He has to continue to show his play, and the stats he puts up can impact winnings. He made steps in that direction this season. I still think he’s a 26-year-old All-NBA center who is coming off another All-Star Game and made some real strides after coming out of the fog of the last two years with losing his mother and a bunch of injuries and losses on the court. He really grew into himself a little bit.
He likes it here. He likes Minnesota. He wants to be here. He likes Chris Finch a lot. He likes his teammates. He loves playing with Anthony Edwards. He’s been friends with D’Angelo Russell for a long time. This is a situation where the Timberwolves have a player under their control and one who is a very good player and wants to be here. In that case, I think you make that offer. You get him signed for the long term, and then you evaluate as it goes on.
Just because a player signs a contract doesn’t mean that he’s going to finish that contract in the place where he signed it. If you sign it and it doesn’t work and the team stalls out or Towns plateaus with his play, he’s going to be movable even if it’s a max contract because of his age, production, and efficiency year in and year out.
I just don’t think there’s a whole lot of debate in terms of what they’re going to do. I expect at some point this summer, there will be a big press conference saying Towns has signed a max deal, he’s one of our guys going forward, and they’re going to keep pushing forward. If you don’t sign him to an extension or try to play games with negotiating for less money, then you have a possibility of alienating him and things going like they did with Deandre Ayton in Phoenix. If you then want to trade him, the first thing you’re going to want is a big who can space the floor for Edwards and give him room to operate. There are very few, if any, players that fit that mold better than Towns.
That’s why I think they’re going to go forward and get that done. He wants to be here. They want him here. This is not a market that gets a lot of free agents or anything like that. Got to keep your guys happy, and I think he’s deserved that.