On the heels of ESPN's Zach Lowe and Brian Windhorst spitballing about Karl-Anthony Towns' future in Minnesota, another ESPN insider is calling Towns out and saying Minnesota really could trade him this summer.
Amin Elhassen, a former employee of the Phoenix Suns, Atlanta Hawks and New York Knicks, says the beef between Towns and the Wolves is real, mainly because Towns has been babied since being drafted first overall in 2015 and grizzled NBA guys like Tom Thibodeau and Jimmy Butler don't put up with it.
"You got a dude [Towns] who's concerned about things that are not necessarily aligned with winning," Elhassen said on the Jalen & Jacoby Show. "Is it youth, is that immaturity? Probably. But it's hard when it's been indoctrinated by the organization."
"Typically, guys like that get moved unless ownership steps in," Elhassen added.
Towns was an All-Star for the first time in his career last season as he averaged 21.3 points and 12.3 rebounds while shooting 42.1 percent from three, an incredibly strong rate for a 7-footer.
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But its the stat sheet that Elhassen claims Towns cares about more than winning, a bold accusation against a player who seems to say and do all of the right things for the Wolves.
"Take away the infatuation with that sheet of paper that they hand you periodically when you come back in from the game. That's not the game. The game is the scoreboard, the game is playing the right way," said Elhassen, adding that Towns needs to be more like the Golden State Warriors, a team he believes is infatuated "with the making right pass, making the right play."
Prior to his job with ESPN, Elhassen was an assistant director of basketball operations for the Suns, so when he says there's a realistic possibility the Suns trade the No. 1 pick in next month's draft to the Wolves for Towns, it's noteworthy.
Were it to happen, the Wolves would probably be projected to take former Arizona Wildcats center, DeAndre Ayton, who like Towns, is considered to have "generational" talent.
Elhassen attempted to explain how Thibodeau might view the scenario.
"Small step back in the short term, long term maybe we got us a better runway and by the way, saved us some money because Towns is up and this kid will be starting his clock from zero for the first four years."
Towns will be due for a maximum contract extension either after the 2018-19 season or the summer of 2020, so trading him would save the Wolves a significant chunk of money.
Beyond that, trading Towns is all risk.
Note: Elhassen's thoughts on the Wolves begin at the 25:00 mark of the podcast.