Rumor: Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns expected to sign extension despite long lull in negotiations
The long silence between the Minnesota Timberwolves and star center Karl-Anthony Towns has raised questions heading into the 2018-19 season, with training camp just weeks away and the start of the regular season in a little over a month.
Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau has said he is confident in Towns signing an extension, but there has been nothing but whispers since teammate Jimmy Butler turned down his own extension early in the summer.
“The fact that this isn’t getting done yet is sort of eye-brow raising,” said ESPN’s Brian Windhorst as a guest of “The Jump” back on Aug. 27. “To me, I believe he’s going to sign it. There’s never been a player who hasn’t signed it. The question again will be, to me: What type of deal is it? Is it a full five-year extension? Is it KAT saying this is where I want to be? Or does he take the shorter extension?”
The reported rift between Butler and his younger teammates (Andrew Wiggins and Towns) could play a key part in the latter’s comfort level, as he is unlikely to want to lock up a long-term deal if Butler decides to sign back with the Wolves.
“Does Karl Towns, who isn’t necessarily comfortable with how everything’s going with the team this year, does he commit and say ‘I want to be here for five years?’ added Windhorst. “Maybe that will happen in a couple of weeks, but until it does, I think it’s fair to wonder just how strong that bond is between him and the franchise.”
Towns is eligible for a five-year, $158 million deal that could escalate up near $190 million, but his decision could ultimately hinge on the direction the franchise tries to take, and whether it is Towns or Butler who takes the reins as the franchise player in the Twin Cities.