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 Westbrook–James 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 Pacers‘ Malcolm Brogdon and the Nets‘ Spencer 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.