Bleacher Report reported late Friday that Karl-Anthony Towns, Timberwolves are supposedly ‘Not in a Good Place Internally.’
Bleacher Report also divulged, “Andrew Wiggins “whispered to teammates” that he was unhappy because he had become the Timberwolves’ third option behind Towns and Jimmy Butler.
Moves have to be made.
Option 1: Trade Wiggins
Wiggins is the third best talent on the squad but just robbed Minnesota of $146.5 million while the team’s regular-season wins increased from 31 wins to 47 wins. There is a myriad of reasons Wiggins should be content with his situation in Minnesota. Wiggins is clearly less talented than Butler and Towns, the team made the playoffs for the first since the KG era, and Wiggins basically robbed a bank.
Wiggins actually has more plays run for him then he could fathom. Wiggins’ usage rate (23.4) was ahead of Towns’ (22.9) and just behind Butler’s (24.9) There should be absolutely zero reason Andrew Wiggins is “whispering to his teammates.” Gimme a break.
Management’s first move should be to jettison Wiggins out of Minnesota. While he was supposed to take a step forward and learn from Jimmy Buckets and defensive guru Tom Thibodeau, he did exactly the opposite. Wiggins’ defensive rating was a 113, barely improving from a horrendous 115 last season.
Wiggins is basically Corey Brewer with an uptick in usage rate and contested jump-shots. His points per game dropped from 23.6 to 17.7, assists from 2.3 to 2.0, and field goal and three-point percentage both dropped by 2 percent. What good is a one-dimensional scorer who scores at an inefficient rate? Not to mention, Wiggins playing style has become lackadaisical and he is now a locker room cancer.
Minnesota should find Wiggins the cheapest one-way ticket out of Minneapolis. Unfortunately, that may include attaching a first-round pick to his awful contract.
Option 2: Trade Towns
Minnesota could take an alternative route and trade Towns for an abundance of assets. Discerning what the return for the unicorn, Towns, is difficult.
Towns produced 21.3 points, grabbed 12.3 rebounds but he only shot 14.3 times a game much lower than the 18 times he shot last year. He also averaged 3.8 fewer points per game. His stroke was vastly improved, firing threes at a 42.1% rate up from 36.7% last year while shooting 10 more this season.
His usage rate plummeted from 27.5% to 22.5%. It’s not like the guy got worse, he was just utilized in less in an offense seemingly more interested in getting D-Rose his shots before Towns.
This is an ultimatum of “You’re gonna feature me exceedingly more next year or I’m done playing for your team” to Thibodeau. It’s like a girlfriend begging for more attention and if she doesn’t get attention then the relationship is over. It’s a toxic relationship by all means.
But his defense, like Wiggins, was lacking throughout the season. He isn’t exactly a rim protector and can’t really stay in front of guards on the outside. Thibodeau, the team president literally answers to himself. His heart says keep Towns in Minnesota, as he is a potential building block for a dynasty but his head says he’s not a wing defender that can play 40+ minutes until they practically die.
If he is ultimately shipped to Boston, he would learn a tremendous amount under his mentor Al Horford. Horford is a jack-of-all-trades modern center who can move his feet as well as overpower opponents inside. Horford has dished out 5.4 assists per 40 minutes two years in a row while Towns dishes out a lowly 2.5. Horford can aide Towns in his interior vision.
No doubt, the Timberwolves will work to resolve disputes with Towns and try to keep him in Minnesota. If the reports are true don’t be surprised if he is shipped to Boston or Phoenix.
If the Timberwolves were to trade KAT, they would not exactly get a return on an investment. But with disgruntled stars, you rarely ever do. Look at Kyrie Irving’s trade to Boston. He returned perpetually injured Isaiah Thomas while Jimmy Butler returned the number 7 pick, Kris Dunn, and Zach Lavine.
Minnesota would embrace playoff star Jayson Tatum but the Celtics might consider him untouchable. Once Gordon Hayward returns they’ll be loaded at the wing, so I am sure they would consider giving up young star Jaylen Brown for Towns. Towns for Jaylen Brown and a 2019 LA Clippers first round pick (protected 1-14) and Memphis’ 1st round pick to Boston (protected 1-8 in 2019, 1-6 in 2020, and unprotected in 2021).
Or they could settle for the first pick and choose Karl Anthony-Towns’ reincarnation in Deandre Ayton. They could even scrap the whole stretch 5 label and choose European wonderboy, Luka Doncic.
In terms of cap space, the Wolves are tied up. They just finished paying Nikola Pekovic $11 million and now Taj Gibson is due for a consecutive year of $14 million. Jeff Teague and Jimmy Butler are tied up for two more years at $19 and $20 million, respectively. Wiggins, as we know, is paid in a back-heavy contract akin Kevin Durant until 2022-23. Cole Aldrich is earning $7 million for warming up the bench. Overall, the Wolves are 17th in projected cap space, according to RealGM.
They won’t have any money to dole out this Summer besides the mid-level exception. Getting rid of Wiggins or Towns could expedite the rebuilding process and get the cap space to go after a player that actually wants to play for them.
Things are getting really messy in the Twin Cities.