Stein’s Latest: KAT, Paul, Zion, Predictions

Reports surfaced this week that the Knicks and Warriors are among the teams monitoring Karl-Anthony Towns‘ situation in Minnesota, but the Timberwolves have no interest in trading their star center, Marc Stein of The New York Times writes in this week’s newsletter. Stein adds that team officials have told him repeatedly that they are building “everything” around Towns, and a trade is the last thing the organization is considering.

The Wolves have tumbled into 12th place in the West after a 10-8 start, and Towns’ injury is part of the reason for the slide. He is in the first season of a five-year, $190MM extension and there’s a new front office team in place run by Gersson Rosas, so there’s no hurry to make major changes.

Executives around the league expect Rosas to be active around the trade deadline, but that’s mostly because of his background with the traditionally aggressive Rockets. Stein notes that teams continue to express interest in acquiring swingman Robert Covington.

There’s more from Stein’s latest piece:

  • Stein has been skeptical that the Russell WestbrookJames Harden pairing could work, but states that the Rockets were forced to make a move because their relationship with Chris Paul was “irretrievably broken” after last season’s playoff ouster. Westbrook was one of the few available options whose contract matched up well with Paul’s.
  • Stein predicts the Pelicans will give serious consideration to keeping Zion Williamson sidelined for the entire season if he’s not healthy enough to return in January. There have been encouraging signs that he might be ready to suit up soon, and New Orleans would like to see how he fits alongside Jrue Holiday and Brandon Ingram before making long-term decisions on both players. However, Stein states that if Williamson goes another month without playing, the safest option may be to skip his entire first season and make sure he’s ready for training camp.
  • Among other 2020 predictions, Stein expects the PacersMalcolm Brogdon and the NetsSpencer Dinwiddie to be first-time All-Stars, the Bucks to fall short of 70 wins, the NBA Board of Governors to approve an in-season tournament as well as a play-in tourney for the final two playoff spots in each conference and Gregg Popovich to retire after coaching the U.S. Olympic team.
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29 thoughts on “Stein’s Latest: KAT, Paul, Zion, Predictions

  1. richard dangler

    KAT’s not a franchise guy, he’s a second or even third best player on a championship caliber team.

    • Chucktoad1

      Towns absolutely is a franchise caliber player. For guys under 25 there’s only 2 I’d take in front of him. Giannis and Luka.
      Kat is a 24 year old big that can score effiencently from all 3 levels .572, .418 and .796. He isn’t Jokic but he has great court vision. He can be the ball handler or the roll guy in the pick and roll. He can drive, pop, pass and fade.
      He still has a little to learn on D.
      Like I said though he’s only 24 and hasn’t even reached his prime. He finally has a good coach. I’m not sure what more you could ask for at this point.

    • harden-westbrook-mvps

      KAT would be the 3rd best player on a championship caliber team, but only if it was a team like the Rockets or the Clippers.

  2. He’s a superstar talent, no doubt, but I agree that he does not look like the guy you build your franchise around. He could definitely be star #2 al a AD, but a team like the Knicks trading for him without landing another star doesn’t make any sense.

  3. harden-westbrook-mvps

    Everyone who still thinks that Harden and Westbrook pairing won’t work hasn’t seen a Rockets game since Halloween. They’re averaging over 60 points a game between them. And Russ has been playing even better than he did his last 3 seasons with the Thunder since he no longer cares about getting triple-doubles all the time. It’s ridiculous to think OKC didn’t get completely hosed in the trade.

    • Banesays

      And it’s ridiculous to think you’re anything but a troll loving homer.

      • Chucktoad1

        He’s a homer yes, troll no. I just wonder if CP3 pissed in his Cheerios or something. All this hate for a guy who helped the Rockets get within 1 game from a trip to the finals before he blew up his hammy and the rest of the team couldn’t knock down a three to save thier lives.

        • SheaGoodbye

          And look at what he’s doing in OKC now. Houston was just a bad fit for CP3 and the guy never ceases to get hurt. Of course, the latter isn’t his fault.

    • It’s almost sad now watching and hearing Rockets players, coaches, front office and fans convince themselves “this time it’ll be different!” Every. Single. Season. ….Almost sad, but still pretty funny.

      • Do you know Russell’s inductivist turkey? Not Russell westbrook, Bertrand Russell…

        Or maybe John Elway, the biggest loser ever… Till 1997

    • He’s the same Westbrook as before. Only now, he’s somehow a worse 3 point shooter – despite being bad to begin with. And as per vintage Westbrook, he’s still jacking up 5 attempts a game.

    • mcdusty49

      They average 60 points a game but average 0 championships together too…isn’t there a Rockets forum you could go talk crazy in?

    • Chucktoad1

      To be fair Thibbs needed to be taken out back and shot during his tenure with the Wolves.
      Saunders has Wiggins and Towns(before the injury) playing the best basketball of their careers.

  4. x%sure

    The usual scsenario is that TOWNS might want out of Minnesota, not that Minn will want to trade him. Plus no GM would ever offer enough. I’m not even sure how Jrue Holiday will get out of Orleans. KLove tried but is patient now.
    Either way, Towns is likely to stay.

    PELICANS better get Zion-W some action or he will get soft.

    • SheaGoodbye

      It’s a complete non-story. Maybe Towns gets traded in a couple of years, but nothing is going to happen in the short/medium term.

  5. specialfriedrice

    For more than 27 years I’ve been an NBA addict, if they add this in season tourney, not only will I completely boycott there new product but I would lose so much of the respect and passion i have for the NBA format in the process.

    Arthur Hill, I ask you this,

    Are you a pawn or a puppet?

    Think long and hard on it mate.

  6. I guess westb is a great move in Houston, (a lucky move?i don’t know) because now teams that try to double Harden have Russell who take the ball…
    Obiouvsly the problem is the D.. and imho Gordon… Too expensive

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