Wolves Have No Plans To Shut Down Towns, Wiggins

Even after winning their last two contests, the Timberwolves remain 5.5 games out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference with just 15 left to play, meaning their hopes of making a postseason push are minuscule. Nonetheless, the club has no plans to shut down its two highest-paid young players, Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, both of whom are dealing with injuries.

“We’re a competitive basketball team,” head coach Ryan Saunders said today, reiterating that the Wolves don’t intend to tank down the stretch, per Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Towns, who missed Sunday’s game against the Knicks, is battling right knee inflammation, while Wiggins has been sidelined for Minnesota’s last two games with a left quad contusion. Saunders said today that both players will go through shootaround and warmups before the team determines their availability for Tuesday’s game vs. Denver (Twitter link via Krawczynski).

As we noted on Monday when we discussed Zach LaVine‘s injury, this is typically the time of year when lottery-bound teams take an extra-cautious approach with minor injuries, both to preserve the health of their most valuable players and to potentially improve their draft standing. However, Towns in particular has plenty of incentive to remain in the Wolves’ lineup for the season’s final four weeks.

Towns’ new five-year, maximum-salary extension, which goes into effect for the 2019/20 season, currently projects to be worth about $158MM. However, its projected value would increase to nearly $190MM if KAT earns a spot on an All-NBA team. The big man would have virtually no chance of earning All-NBA honors if he sits out the season’s final month.

We pointed out in February that the Anthony Davis saga in New Orleans could create a clearer path for Towns to snag a spot on an All-NBA team, and his recent numbers suggest he’s motivated to do so — he has posted an impressive 35.1 PPG, 14.1 RPG, and 3.4 APG on .597/.489/.776 shooting in his last seven games (34.1 MPG).

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4 thoughts on “Wolves Have No Plans To Shut Down Towns, Wiggins

  1. Great move! Minny deserves the utmost respect for not shutting down their stars, wish more teams would do that! KAT is a lock for an ALL-NBA team, I mean he is playing at an MVP level… again. This season I would put him only behind Giannis, AD, Harden & Embiid. Sooo glad we can all keep on enjoying such a wonderful player, that is the way to go by all the teams in the league!

  2. Gus Leggett

    The problem with KAT getting that Super Max, is it handcuffs the Wolves on cap space even more then they are. If KAT (or even any other player on any other team) were to say just keep me at the $158 to help out the team, then I might be happy. Honestly, the difference between $158 million and $190 million, when you are talking that much money, there isn’t much of a difference.

  3. Gus Leggett

    I forgot to add, I really like hearing the commentator (not sure who it was) during the Wolves-Nuggets game last night, say that KAT shouldn’t be getting the Super Max as his team is not in the playoffs. Part of that deal is you are supposed to lift up those around you. KAT is getting his numbers, but how much is that helping those around him? I know that that isn’t part of the outline to receive the Super Max, but maybe it should be looked at and considered.

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