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What if Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor is forced to choose between Karl-Anthony Towns and Tom Thibodeau

It's hypothetical at this point, but the speculation has taken us there.

What's going to happen if the situation inside the Timberwolves' organization really is at the point where owner Glen Taylor has to pick between team president and head coach, Tom Thibodeau, and 22-year-old All-Star, Karl-Anthony Towns?

It's a hypothetical situation right now, but the prospect was raised this week by ESPN's Zach Lowe and Brian Windhorst, who agreed that the Wolves are "not in a good place right now," with Windhorst suggesting that Minnesota trading Towns this summer isn't impossible. 

To be clear, nobody has said Towns is unhappy, but the ESPN duo's conversation has fueled speculation (including by websites like ours, admittedly) that Towns and Thibodeau don't see eye-to-eye. If true, Taylor could be forced to make a decision.

It'd be like Sophie's Choice. Except not really, because Taylor should clearly choose Towns.

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Towns has generational talent, but he needs a coach who designs the game plan around him, putting him in position to succeed. And it probably wouldn't hurt if the coach approached things the way Brad Stevens does in Boston, with a calm, always stable approach, unlike the scream-first style Thibodeau is known for.

What complicates things is that Thibodeau might be the only thing keeping Jimmy Butler in Minnesota. That said, this might be Butler's last year in Minnesota anyway.

The All-Star swingman will still be in his prime – 29 years old – when he's eligible for free agency in 2019. Thibodeau or not, Butler's exit might already be a foregone conclusion. 

Taylor should also consider the late Flip Saunders if he's faced with a decision. 

Towns was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 draft, and the final piece of Saunders' rebuild centered around a trio of young stars, including Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine. 

Thibodeau already traded LaVine in the Butler deal with Chicago, and if he's allowed to deal Towns and then Butler leaves via free agency, Saunders' vision will be a memory and the Wolves would likely be without a star player.

Butler might be a top 15 player now, but Towns could be the best player in the NBA in a matter of years. The 7-footer has averaged 21.6 points, 11.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.4 blocks per game in his three seasons, not to mention he's a sparkling 38.7 percent 3-point shooter.

Towns is the future, Thibodeau appears to be the past. Taylor needs to make the right choice if a decision presents itself. 

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