Thibs Might be the Only Obstacle Blocking a Karl-Anthony Towns Trade to New York

Karl-Anthony Towns, Tom Thibodeau, Minnesota Timberwolves at Sacramento Kings
Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Timberwolves were eliminated from the NBA Playoffs on Thursday night in game 5 vs the Dallas Mavericks. Now, we look to the offseason where all eyes will be on Karl-Anthony Towns and the organization’s luxury tax situation.

Their stars, Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns are both in for huge pay increases that will make the Wolves roster one of the highest paid in the NBA. On top of all those high priced game checks, will come a luxury tax bill at the end of the season that is projected to be $50 million, if no moves are made this offseason.

WILL Glen Taylor foot that bill, if he remains majority owner? If Alex Rodriguez and Marc Lore take over, CAN they dole out that kind of cash? If the answer to either of those questions is no, then Towns appears the most in danger of being moved. He’d bring the most back in a trade and Naz Reid could slide into his place somewhat seamlessly.

Karl Anthony Towns to the New York Knicks?

Karl-Anthony Towns
Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

While Karl Anthony Towns has been with the Minnesota Timberwolves since the moment Flip Saunders made him the number one overall pick back in 2015, he is a New Jersey native and certainly has ties to the east coast.

KAT’s most important tie to the Big Apple might be his former agent, Leon Rose, who is now president of the New York Knicks. Who is his right-hand man? Gersson Rosas, ever heard of him? He only ran the Wolves and had them on their way to building a team around KAT.

The Knicks also happen to have FOUR first round picks over the next two NBA Drafts and they are on the prowl for more offensive help. In other words, if Tim Connelly is thinking about moving Karl-Anthony Towns, there may be no better fit in the league than the New York Knicks. That’s why rumors randomly leak out linking the two.

Towns has a salary that increases to $49.3 million next season. He will be 29 years old and the Timberwolves could turn the page to Naz Reid as their starter. Reid, who is a fan-favorite, will be just 25 years old and is set to make only $14 million. That number would allow Minnesota and Tim Connelly ample opportunity to make other roster moves.

Would Tom Thibodeau want Karl-Anthony Towns in New York?

Of course, one substantial caveat to Karl Anthony Towns playing for the New York Knicks means that he would again be coached by Tom Thibodeau. The last time that tandem was together, we saw a season of tumultuous proportions, complete with a Jimmy Butler blow up and forced trade that nearly ruined the franchise.

In any scenario that includes Towns going to the Knicks, Thibodeau would both need to believe that the talented big man was actually going to play his brand of defense, which is not something longtime local insider Charley Walters (Pioneer Press) believes (or is being told) that Thibs is sold on.

It’s unclear whether Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau, who coached Towns with the Timberwolves, could be convinced that Towns has finally decided to play defense.

Charley Walters – Pioneer Press

Given how the last time both Karl Anthony Towns and Tom Thibodeau were paired together went, it’s pretty crazy to think that a fresh start would be a great idea. Then again, Towns wouldn’t be the face in New York that he is in Minnesota, and he has already learned how to defer to another talented start that is well his junior.

Related: Jason Kidd Questions Karl-Anthony Towns’ Self-Proclaimed Big Man Legacy

How the Timberwolves fare during this playoff run would seem to be the deciding factor regarding what they do with some of the key pieces of their roster. An exit without a title may have them more inclined to get the band back together and see if a third season with the same core can yield the desired results.

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