In the latest HoopsHype podcast with Michael Scotto, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic said he fully believes that Karl-Anthony Towns will be offered — and will sign — a super-max extension with the Timberwolves summer. Towns became eligible for the super-max after being selected to the All-NBA Third Team.
Krawczynski acknowledges that Towns has his share of flaws, but he points out that Minnesota isn’t a free agent destination, the team has undergone lots of front office and coaching changes in his seven seasons, and he hasn’t played with a whole lot of talent around him. Once the deal is signed, if Towns plateaus, the Wolves still have the option of trading him in the future due to his “age, production and efficiency,” says Krawcyznski.
Here’s more from Scotto and Krawczynski:
- Scotto wonders if trading away D’Angelo Russell might affect Towns’ decision to sign an extension, and points out that the last time Russell was in a contract year he wound up making the All-Star team with the Nets. Krawczynski thinks Towns will sign the super-max either way, but determining what to do with Russell will be a challenge for new president of basketball operations Tim Connelly. Krawczynski notes that Russell is eligible for an extension this summer, but he’s doubtful his next deal will be worth the max. If the price is right for both sides, Krawczynski thinks an extension might be viable. Russell helped lead the team to a 46-36 regular season and had a huge game in the play-in win over the Clippers, but then struggled against the Grizzlies, so gauging his market value will be tricky for Connelly, says Krawczynski.
- A couple of scouts told HoopsHype that they think Anthony Edwards, not Towns, will eventually be the best player on the Timberwolves, but Krawczynski says there’s no jealousy between the two players — they enjoy playing together and believe their games complement each other.
- Malik Beasley, who was drafted by Connelly in Denver, could benefit from the reunion, says Scotto, who believes Beasley is primed for a bounce-back year after seeing his name in trade rumors. Krawczynski agrees that Connelly’s presence should help, and reports that Beasley was out of shape entering training camp last fall due to his legal trouble. While noting that it was Beasley’s fault and he only has himself to blame, Krawczynski also says that he’s the hardest worker on the team.
- The Timberwolves currently control the Nos. 19, 40, 48, and 50 picks in the upcoming draft, but don’t expect them to have four rookies on the roster next season. According to Krawczynski, a more likely outcome is that they either draft-and-stash some European prospects in the second round or package some picks to move up or acquire veteran help. Attaching the No. 19 pick with a veteran to improve the roster is also a possibility, he says.
- A reunion with Taurean Prince, who’s an unrestricted free agent, could be in the cards. Krawczynski says there’s mutual interest between the two parties, noting that “players and coaches love him,” and Prince has stated that he was happy in Minnesota. Neither Scotto nor Krawczynski expect Jake Layman to be back, and Josh Okogie‘s return seems unlikely, but could still occur if he doesn’t draw much interest in free agency. The team likes him, but he didn’t receive much playing time, so he’ll probably look for another opportunity, per Krawczynski.