Monday, June 24, 2024

Blockbuster NBA Trade Ideas to Move Karl-Anthony Towns and More

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The Trade: New Orleans Pelicans acquire Karl-Anthony Towns from the Minnesota Timberwolves for Brandon Ingram, Larry Nance Jr. and a 2027 first-round pick (via MIL)

The Minnesota Timberwolves will find it almost impossible to get back equal value for Karl-Anthony Towns, which is just one of the reasons why they shouldn’t trade him. He’s owed $221.1 million over the next four years, which most teams aren’t clamoring to pay a big man with a spotty playoff track record and limited defensive value.

Not only that, but the Wolves can’t justify a high-level deal that merely cuts salary. Ownership groups are justified in pinching pennies on a team that can’t make the playoffs. But one that dethroned the defending champs and reached the Western Conference Finals deserves to take another crack at advancing further next year.

With that said, a KAT deal remains a real possibility this offseason. If not now, certainly by the 2025 trade deadline.

Here, the Wolves would get back Ingram and Nance, who’ll earn $36 million and $11.2 million, respectively, on expiring contracts in 2024-25. For a Minnesota team that struggled to score, Ingram, whose main skill is creating something-from-nothing offense, could address a real need. Ingram could start between Jaden McDaniels and Anthony Edwards, where he’d be shielded from tough defensive matchups.

Minnesota could also start Naz Reid in an ultra-big look that sends Mike Conley to the bench in a sixth-man role, which might not be the worst way to prop up reserve units that struggle to get buckets.

Rim protection has been an issue in New Orleans throughout free-agent-to-be Jonas Valančiūnas’ tenure. Towns wouldn’t help much there, but he’d fill the floor-spacing-5 void, potentially unlocking the most lethal version of Zion Williamson’s downhill game.

Five-out looks featuring Towns, one of the most dangerous shooting bigs in NBA history, could bring out the best in everyone on the Pels roster. New Orleans would give back plenty on D, but Herb Jones might be good enough on his own to ensure that the team still finishes in the top half of the league on that end.

If KAT turned the Pels into a top-five offense, that two-way profile would be good enough for 50-plus wins and a fighting chance against most postseason opponents.

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