After recently finalizing a deal to acquire OG Anunoby from the Raptors, the Knicks are said to be actively still on the trade market, as they have assets to spend, including eight available first-round picks.
That is to say, rumors are swirling around the league that one of their next main trade targets is Timberwolves’ 3x All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns, but a concrete offer hasn’t materialized as of yet.
During an appearance on FanDuel TV, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that the Knicks are “always going to have interest in” acquiring the 7-foot big man if made available by the Timberwolves.
Important to realize, that a mid-season splash move for Towns may be a hard bargain to make, considering that the Timberwolves are currently the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference with a 24-8 record. With this in mind, the 28-year-old Towns is finally a part of a contending Timberwolves team for the first time in his nine-year career, so any deal for the Timberwolves’ 2015 first-overall pick, more likely than not, will require multiple players and have draft picks involved.
The Knicks recently acquired Anunoby, Precious Achiuwa, and Malachi Flynn while sending RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley to the Toronto Raptors. Certainly, Anunoby, who led the NBA in steals last season, will fit right into Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau’s defensive-minded scheme and be a big upgrade for a New York team, who have been lacking defensively. Nevertheless, this also means Knicks’ co-stars Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle will now be left to carry most of the load offensively. Thereupon, this deal may have opened up the opportunity to bring in another offensive star, leading Knicks president Leon Rose to seek another in-season blockbuster trade.
“It’ll be interesting to see how long it’ll be before the Knicks make another move,” an NBA executive told HoopsHype. “There’s not a lot of shot creation for other players on the roster now, and there’s a lot of pressure on Brunson. I get why New York made the trade. The team was playing selfishly. Anunoby is a better fit with what they have than Barrett.”
By all means, a player like Towns may be interesting to pair with Randle, especially considering the Knicks have been searching for a consistent frontcourt player, following the loss of starting 7-foot center Mitchell Robinson, who will be out for the remainder of the season after undergoing ankle surgery.
In his ninth season with the Timberwolves, Towns is currently averaging 21.4 points and 9.2 rebounds per game, while shooting 50.9% from the field and 41.3% from three-point range. As a result, Towns is highly sought after due to a combination of his size, shooting ability, and the fact that he is one of the top 7-footers in the league, in his prime, which makes him a viable trade candidate.
To point out, this past offseason Towns had previously been linked to the Knicks in trade rumors, however, it was said New York might not want to take on the Timberwolves star’s massive contract. With that being said, after moving pieces around, the Knicks may now have extra flexibility by creating a $5.2 million trade exception, so they are now $5.1 million below the NBA tax line.
To note, this 2023-24 season, Towns is earning $36 million, and then his four-year, $224 million supermax extension with the Timberwolves is set to kick in during the 2024-25 season.
Namely, the Knicks were first linked to Towns in April of 2023, when an NBA source told Sean Deveney of Heavy Sports that both Towns and New York had mutual interest.
“The interest in making that happen would be mutual, for sure,” the source told Deveny. “KAT and the Knicks are intertwined. To some people, it is more a matter of when they go after him, not if.”
Undoubtedly, adding Towns to a core of Brunson, Randle, and now Anunoby could bolster the Knicks to make a deep playoff run in a competitive Eastern Conference, however, considering the Timberwolves may have a chance at a championship run, it is yet to be seen if Minnesota will be willing to engage in trade talks at this time.
As the Knicks are currently the 8th seed with an 18-15 record, they are eager to move more assets ahead of the February 8 trade deadline. The other notable potential trade target names that have been thrown around for the Knicks include guards such as Donovan Mitchell or Dejounte Murray, and big men like Andre Drummond and Clint Capela could also be targeted in the coming month.