Hannah Foslien/Getty Images
Karl-Anthony Towns isn’t going anywhere.
Despite rumblings of discord between the parties at the end of last season, Towns and the Minnesota Timberwolves agreed to terms Saturday on a five-year, $ 190 million supermax contract extension, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Wojnarowski passed along Towns’ statement on the move:
“On June 25, 2015, I was drafted to and committed to the Minnesota Timberwolves. On September 22, 2018, I made a recommitment to the Wolves and have the same feelings of excitement that I felt back in 2015.
I promise to the fans, my teammates and the organization to keep the vision of the man who drafted me, Flip Saunders, alive and treat his dream of winning with respect and dignity. To the fans from Day One and the Timberwolves fans, this is for you. Thank you for believing in me.”
Towns isn’t immediately eligible for the full supermax even though he garnered All-NBA honors this past season, but another appearance on the leaguewide team would allow him to earn 30 percent of Minnesota’s salary cap. According to ESPN.com’s Zach Lowe, the Timberwolves “can write that contingency into his extension, guaranteeing him the supermax if he qualifies.”
Dane Moore of Zone Coverage provided details about the extension possibilities:
Dane Moore @DaneMooreNBA
Approximate salary figures for Karl-Anthony Towns 2019-20 through 2023-24. To receive column 1, Towns must* make All-NBA team this upcoming season. *(or Towns can also receive column 1 by winning MVP or DPOY either of next two seasons) https://t.co/08LCZczyBm
Based on the trajectory Towns has been on over the last three seasons, it will be an upset if he’s not an All-NBA selection in 2019.
Minnesota picked him No. 1 overall in the 2015 draft, and the choice paid immediate dividends as the Kentucky product averaged 18.3 points and 10.5 rebounds per game en route to 2015-16 Rookie of the Year honors.
His ascent continued the following season. During his first year under head coach Tom Thibodeau, the 7-footer logged a career-high 25.1 points and 12.3 rebounds a night.
However, his most eye-opening development may have come in his third year.
Although Towns’ scoring average (21.3 points) and usage rate (22.9 percent) dipped following Jimmy Butler’s arrival last season, he knocked down 42.1 percent of his 285 three-point attempts as the Timberwolves clinched their first playoff spot since 2004.
According to Basketball Reference, that long-range efficiency allowed him to join Kevin Love and Larry Bird as the only qualified players in league history to average at least 20 points and 10 boards while shooting at least 40 percent from beyond the arc.
And here’s the scary part: The 22-year-old hasn’t reached his prime yet.
Expect another statistical eruption from Towns in year four, as Minnesota sets its sights on escaping the first round of the postseason.
Still, this move could mean a quick exit for Butler, who already reportedly requested a trade, per Shams Charania of The Athletic. According to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN (h/t Dan Feldman of NBC Sports), Towns’ agent told management he “can’t coexist with Jimmy.”
Myron Medcalf of ESPN had a prediction:
Myron Medcalf @MedcalfByESPN
There is no way Karl Towns signed his max deal without a commitment from Glen Taylor that Jimmy Butler would be shipped very, very soon.
Although Butler could be on his way out, at least Towns should remain in Minnesota for the next few years.