Karl-Anthony Towns

Wolves Notes: Towns, Season, Rosas

Despite declining to offer specifics, Timberwolves president Gersson Rosas feels optimistic about Karl-Anthony Towns wrist injury, Chris Hine of the Star Tribune writes.

Towns suffered a fractured wrist on Feb. 10 and missed each of the remaining games before the season was suspended indefinitely. Before suffering the injury, he was putting up per-game averages of 26.5 points, 10.8 rebounds and 1.2 blocks.

“At the right time we’ll make a formal announcement of where things are at, but to be fair out of respect for Karl and what he’s living through right now, we want to make sure and give him his space and his opportunity to work through things moving forward,” Rosas said. “Big picture, we feel positive about that situation and when the time is right we’ll share more details on the specifics of that.”

Towns’ mother, Jacqueline Cruz-Towns, tragically passed away from coronavirus complications in April. His father also contracted the virus and has since recovered.

Minnesota was one of eight teams that didn’t qualify for the NBA’s restart, owning just a 19-45 record on the season. The team will now shift its focus to next season with hopes of successfully building around the likes of Towns and star teammate D’Angelo Russell going forward.

Here are some other notes out of Minnesota tonight:

  • In a separate article for the Star Tribune, Chris Hine examines the T-Wolves’ patience throughout the season before finally pulling the plug and making a blockbuster trade to acquire Russell at the NBA’s trade deadline. “I’m not doing my job if I’m not coming in every day to figure out ways to improve our roster and find the best players we can find,” Rosas said. “I love our group, I like the potential that they have, but to be fair, it’s potential right now, and they’re young players and it’s a young team. So can we do our part to help them become the best players they can be, and can they fit in our organization and in our roster to maximize our vision?”
  • Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic examines the pros and cons of Minnesota being left out of the NBA’s restart plan in Orlando. The team is working to collaborate with the other franchises not playing in Orlando on multiple options, including the possibility of hosting competitive practices together. “Not being able to get that last month-plus was definitely something we wanted in terms of our continuity as we went towards the summer,” head coach Ryan Saunders said. “That’s another reason why this is going to be important for us to be able to get some time together as a group.”

Atlantic Notes: Siakam, Knicks, Smith, Celtics

The Raptors are hoping their championship experience will assist the team when the NBA resumes play in Orlando later this summer, Doug Smith of the Toronto Star writes.

Toronto, led by star forward Pascal Siakam, kept much of its 2018/19 championship core intact this season, including Siakam, Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol. The Raptors’ strong chemistry and veteran presence are two major reasons why they’ve succeeded this season.

“I feel like there’s chemistry there, we’ve been playing for awhile, we’ve been winning championships together, things you don’t really forget,” Siakam said, as relayed by Smith.

The Raptors held the second-best record in the Eastern Conference at 46-18 when the NBA suspended its season, trailing the No. 1 seed Bucks by 6.5 games. The team has solidified itself as a legitimate playoff threat despite losing Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green in free agency last summer.

“To be simple and truthful, I just don’t care what people think of the Raptors,” Siakam said. “I think, for us, it’s been a lot of years caring about, ‘Oh, love me too,’ and I think that’s over, man. We are the champions and if you don’t see it, that’s your problem.

“And for us, it’s about us, we’re not worried what other people think, we’re gonna continue to win games and chase championships. That’s the only thing we care about and whoever feels the way they feel, that’s them and has nothing to do with us. We don’t care about perception.”

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division tonight:

  • For the Knicks, hiring Tom Thibodeau as head coach would likely mean the team wouldn’t acquire Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns anytime soon, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. New York reportedly expressed interest in Towns prior to the trade deadline this season, with Berman noting that the relationship between Towns and Thibodeau was strained in their final weeks together during the 2018/19 season.
  • Former NBA guard and current NBA on TNT analyst Kenny Smith laughed off a question about coaching for the Knicks in an interview with Steve Serby of the New York Post. “They know where I am,” Smith laughed, addressing a question about whether he would like to interview for New York’s head coaching job. “They know what I could bring to the table in any capacity. There is a head coach there now (interim coach Mike Miller). … I don’t like to talk about guys’ jobs who still have a job.” Smith also offered his thoughts on racial injustice, the NBA’s restart and more in the interview.
  • Jared Weiss and John Hollinger of The Athletic examine the future of the Celtics, pondering whether there’s a viable path to the Finals for the franchise this season. Boston contains a strong nucleus of Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown and others, holding a 43-21 record on the season.

Western Notes: Lakers Loan, Bagley, Walton, Towns

The Lakers returned a $4.6MM loan they received from a federal government program intended to help small businesses during by the coronavirus pandemic, according to ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz. The Lakers applied for relief through the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program. When many small businesses were shut out of the program, the team opted to return the money.

“Once we found out the funds from the program had been depleted, we repaid the loan so that financial support would be directed to those most in need,” the team said in a statement. “The Lakers remain completely committed to supporting both our employees and our community.”

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • Kings coach Luke Walton isn’t sure how much big man Marvin Bagley III will play if the season resumes, Jason Jones of The Athletic reports. Bagley has played in only 13 games this season due to a left foot sprain and a broken thumb. “In talking to Marvin, he feels much better,” said Walton, who added Bagley would still have to go through protocols during injury rehab, including three-on-three and five-on-five play.
  • Walton struck an optimistic tone regarding his club in the same story from Jones. “I love where we’re at as a group,” Walton said. “I think our future is bright, I think we have a great group of guys. This is a hard thing, winning consistently in any pro sport is hard. But when you get a good group of guys that works hard and likes each other and is willing to trust each other, I think, is how you make that happen.” Sacramento was 28-36 when play was halted but had won seven of its last 10 games.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on the Timberwolves and it has brought organization members closer on an emotional level, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic writes. Karl-Anthony Towns’ mother, Jacqueline, and a relative of Malik Beasley succumbed to complications from the virus. “We’ve done everything possible for our players and our staff and their families to make sure they’re as safe as possible,” president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas said. “Once it affects you the way it’s affected us now, we’re ultra-sensitive to the fact that we want to be here for our players and their families and our staff.”

Karl-Anthony Towns’ Mother Passes Away Due To COVID-19

Jacqueline Towns, the mother of Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns, has passed away due to COVID-19 complications, a Towns family spokesperson announced today (via the Timberwolves’ Twitter).

“Jackie, as she was affectionately known among family and friends, had been battling the virus for more than a month when she succumbed on April 13,” the statement reads. “Jackie was many things to many people — a wife, mother, daughter, grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend. The matriarch of the Towns family, she was an incredible source of strength; a fiery, caring, and extremely loving person, who touched everyone she met. Her passion was palpable and her energy will never be replaced.

“… The family is devastated by their tremendous loss, and respectfully requests privacy in this time of great mourning.”

The Timberwolves’ big man had previously revealed in a YouTube video that his mother was in a coma after being diagnosed with the coronavirus. Towns’ father, Karl Sr., also tested positive for COVID-19 but was said in March to be recovering well after being briefly hospitalized.

We at Hoops Rumors send our condolences to Karl-Anthony, as well as to the rest of Jacqueline’s family and friends.

Karl-Anthony Towns’ Father Also Tests Positive For COVID-19

Karl-Anthony Towns recently shared the news about his mother contracting the coronavirus, revealing that she has been hospitalized for the past week and in a coma. Towns’ father also tested positive for the virus, Malika Andrews of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link). Karl Sr. is reportedly “recovering well” after a multi-day stay in the hospital, Andrews adds.

“I was told early last week my parents weren’t feeling well,” Towns said (via his Instagram). “My first reaction to her was to go seek medical attention immediately. There’s no reason to wait, just go to the nearest hospital. And after a couple days of not showing any signs of improvement, I was very adamant on the first day to go to a hospital and seek further evaluation.

“Specifically, my sister told her she needs to get checked for corona. I don’t think anyone really understood what it was, with deteriorating condition. She kept getting worse, she kept getting worse, and the hospital was doing everything they can.”

Towns said he was in constant contact with his mother before she was put into the medically induced coma.

“This disease needs to not be taken lightly,” Towns said. “Please protect your families, your loved ones, your friends, yourself. Practice social distancing. Please don’t be in places with a lot of people; it just heightens your chances of getting this disease, and this disease … it’s deadly. It’s deadly. And we’re going to keep fighting on my side, me and my family, we’re going to keep fighting this. We’re going to beat it. We’re going to win.”

Hoops Rumors sends its thoughts and prayers to the Towns family and all those who have been impacted by COVID-19.

Karl-Anthony Towns’ Mother In Coma Due To COVID-19

In a video posted to YouTube on Tuesday evening, Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns provided an emotional account of the health issues his mother Jacqueline Cruz is facing, as she has been hospitalized with COVID-19 symptoms.

While Towns didn’t explicitly say in the video that his mother has tested positive for the coronavirus, the Wolves confirmed that diagnosis to ESPN’s Malika Andrews. According to Towns, who had to pause to compose himself throughout the video, his mother is in a medically induced coma and had to be put on a ventilator.

“She’s been in a medically induced coma,” Towns said. “Since that day (when she was put into a coma), I haven’t talked to her, haven’t been able to obviously communicate with her. I’ve just been getting updates on her condition. It’s rough, and day by day we’re just seeing how it goes. We’re being positive; I’m being very positive. So I’m just keeping the strength up for everybody and my family.”

Towns, who made a $100K donation to the Mayo Clinic to aid the coronavirus response and testing process even before his mother got sick, explained that he shared his story because he feels it’s important that “everyone understands the severity of what’s happening in the world right now with the coronavirus.” He also expressed hope that his mother will recover.

“Dominican women are strong. I know they are,” Towns said. “My mother is one of the strongest women I know and I know she’ll beat this. We’re going to rejoice when she does.”

We wish Towns and his family the best in this difficult time.

More Teams, Players Pledge To Support Arena Workers During Hiatus

The list of teams and players who have vowed to help support arena workers who will lose wages during the NBA’s hiatus continues to grow. Here are several of the updates from the couple days:

  • The Bulls‘ ownership group, along with United Center ownership, announced that it will pay day-of-game employees through the remained of the originally scheduled season. The Nets issued a press release indicating they’ll do the same for hourly employees who worked games and events at Barclays Center. A team official said the Sixers are doing so too, tweets John Clark of NBC Sports Philadelphia.
  • The Spurs announced the formation of a fund totaling $500K+ that will be used to pay its part-time employees through the rest of the season. The Hornets also established a fund to assist the organization’s part-time employees who had been scheduled to work Hornets and Greensboro Swarm games through the end of their respective seasons.
  • The Nuggets‘ ownership group pledged to pay its part-time and hourly employees for the next 30 days, per a press release.
  • Madison Square Garden has committed to paying event-driven employees, including those who work at Knicks games, through March 22 and is working to come up with a longer-term plan, per a memo obtained by Ian Begley of SNY.tv. The Suns, meanwhile, are paying their employees who were scheduled to work their two home games in March, noting that the staffing for their four home games in April hadn’t yet been finalized.
  • The Raptors said in a press release that they have joined forces with Toronto’s other sports franchises to create a fund for arena and stadium workers. “Being a good teammate means looking out for our neighbours, friends and the people we work with,” Raptors president Masai Ujiri said in a statement. “Through this fund, we all pledge to be good teammates to our arena, stadium and support staff. We want to be here for them, the way they are always here for us.”
  • Following the lead of stars Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton, the rest of the Bucks‘ roster has also committed to making donations to impacted Fiserv Forum workers, per the team (Twitter link). Magic center Mohamed Bamba vowed to do the same for Amway Center employees (Twitter link).
  • Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns is making a $100K donation as well, but his money will be going to the Mayo Clinic, which is rolling out a test to detect the virus that causes COVID-19.My hope is that we can fight this virus quicker and more efficiently by increasing the testing capabilities and availability and Mayo Clinic’s overall COVID-19 response,” Towns tweeted.

Towns Out At Least Another Two Weeks

Timberwolves star center Karl-Anthony Towns will be sidelined at least two more weeks with a left wrist fracture, Chris Hine of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.

Towns hasn’t played since February 10 due to the injury, though it wasn’t diagnosed as a fracture until 11 days later.

At that time, the Timberwolves said they would re-evaluate Towns in two weeks. That timetable passed and the team now says the injury will be re-evaluated once again after giving it two more weeks to heal.

Towns has struggled to stay on the court this season. He also missed 15 games due to a sprained left knee and two others for a league-imposed suspension. He’s played just once with his new pick-and-roll partner, D’Angelo Russell, since the high-scoring guard was traded from Golden State.

On the positive side, Towns’ wrist won’t require surgery but his chances of returning to action before next season have diminished. Towns, 24, is averaging career highs in points (26.5 PPG) and assists (4.4 APG).

Karl-Anthony Towns Has Fractured Wrist

Timberwolves superstar center Karl-Anthony Towns has been diagnosed with a fractured left wrist and will be sidelined for a minimum of two weeks, according to a team press release.

It’s the latest setback for Towns, who has also missed 15 games this season due to a sprained left knee and two others for a league-imposed suspension. Towns sat out the last game prior to the All-Star break due to the wrist injury.

Towns received a period of treatment and monitoring from the Wolves medical staff before the fracture was discovered. He has been assessed by multiple specialists over the last several days, the release adds.

The Timberwolves are 21 games under .500, so Towns’ absence won’t impact the team’s postseason hopes. However, it will reduce the opportunities that Towns has this season to establish chemistry with newly-acquired point guard D’Angelo Russell.

Towns, 24, is averaging career highs in points (26.5 PPG) and assists (4.4 APG) this season.

Karl-Anthony Towns Sidelined Indefinitely

The wrist injury that sidelined Karl-Anthony Towns shortly before the All-Star break will keep him out of action a while longer, according to Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. Towns was held out of today’s practice and won’t be in the lineup when the Timberwolves resume their season Friday night.

“He’s still being evaluated with things,” said coach Ryan Saunders, who didn’t offer a timetable for Towns’ return or discuss the severity of the injury. “He went through the All-Star break. We’ll get back in touch with him right here.”

Saunders confirmed that Towns’ absence will cover multiple games.

Towns had a brace on his left wrist as he took shots before today’s practice, Hine added, and he wasn’t using it as he caught passes from an assistant coach. He underwent an MRI on February 11 that confirmed the injury and sat out last Wednesday’s game.

Hine notes that the Wolves are often secretive about injuries, even when they keep players out of action for extended stretches. Examples include the 15 games that Towns missed earlier this season with a left knee injury followed by an illness, and the sprained toe that has sidelined Jake Layman since November.

An extended absence for Towns would provide a setback for the Wolves as they try to integrate seven new players after a flurry of moves at the trade deadline. The organization is especially concerned with building chemistry between Towns and point guard D’Angelo Russell, who was acquired in a trade with the Warriors.

“Being the youngest team in the league,” Saunders said, “we’re going to have to make sure that we grow and we don’t say, ‘Hey we’ll be better when we mature. We’ll be better in the summertime when you can focus on just development.’ We need to use all the time right now.”