With this season and four more years remaining on his contract, is there any way the Timberwolves would consider trading 24-year-old star Karl-Anthony Towns?
Towns, who has missed four straight games with a sprained knee, is the subject of speculation after Marc Berman of the New York Post reported Christmas Day that the New York Knicks are hungry for a superstar and Towns is on their radar.
"According to the source, another player the Knicks are expected to monitor is local product, Karl Anthony-Towns, the Timberwolves’ 24-year-old superstar who also signed a max extension this summer," Berman wrote.
Towns is from New Jersey and grew up as a diehard Knicks fan, Berman added.
But Towns, averaging 26.5 points and 11.7 rebounds this season, is in the first year of a five-year, $158 million max extension. The Knicks could create the cap space to acquire Towns because they have a roster filled with one-year contracts after striking out on last summer's marquee free agents, including Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and Kemba Walker.
But aside from draft picks, what could the Knicks actually give Minnesota for Towns?
New York's roster is loaded with middling talent, and the only draft pick they have that carries a lot of value is their 2020 first-round pick, as it'll likely be in the lottery and possibly near the top as they sit at 7-24 right now.
New York also owns the Mavericks' first-round picks in 2021 and 2023, but with superstar Luka Doncic leading the charge in Dallas, those picks don't look like lottery picks.
If the Wolves ever do make Towns available, there would probably be a bunch of interested teams with more to offer than New York.
After a rocky two seasons marred by Jimmy Butler's exit, Towns entered this season with a renewed focus and attitude, praising the new culture and family feel inside the locker room. The new culture and style of play under new President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas led to the Wolves beginning the season 10-8, but now stuck in an 11-game losing streak, hopes are fading fast as Minnesota has tumbled to 13th in the Western Conference.
It's the sixth-longest losing streak in franchise history, and if Towns doesn't play Thursday at Sacramento, Minnesota could be staring down 12 consecutive losses.