If the Minnesota Timberwolves make Karl-Anthony Towns available for trade, the Los Angeles Lakers should call with this offer in hand.
However, if they do end up listening to offers, the Los Angeles Lakers would be crazy to not at least see what the asking price is for the dynamic big man.
In case you hadn’t heard, the relationship between Towns and the Timberwolves is allegedly “not in a good place internally.”
This report comes from an ESPN podcast featured Zach Lowe and Brian Windhorst.
Does that mean a divorce (AKA trade) is inevitable? Absolutely not. First, the report may not even reflect reality. That’s not to say the reporting is bad, but we hear rumors from credible sources all the time that never amount to anything. It could just be informed speculation. Even if there is some inner turmoil, Minnesota isn’t going to just throw in the towel on KAT.
Still, seeing as this is a new, developing situation, it only seems logical to speculate.
With that in mind, I’ve put together a trade proposal the Lakers could make for Towns if he does become available in the coming months. I will say this in advance, though: it’s not going to be some insane deal in which Los Angeles guts its roster. If that’s the approach Magic Johnson wants to take, he’d be better off pursuing Kawhi Leonard.
However, with the recent rumors that none of the Lakers’ young core is off limits (via the LA Times‘ Tania Ganguli), we can’t really count out anything at this point.
So here it is. Bear with me, as I’m no NBA general manager.
Lakers get PF – Karl-Anthony Towns
Timberwolves get PF – Julius Randle
PF – Kyle Kuzma
2019 1st round pick
To get Towns, the Lakers give up Julius Randle (via sign-and-trade), Kyle Kuzma and a 2019 first round pick. This trade would have to be done after July 1, as Randle won’t be eligible for a sign-and-trade deal until then. That also keeps Los Angeles from offering their 2018 first round pick (from the Cleveland Cavaliers), which may offer Minnesota more immediate value but is nowhere near as valuable overall at No. 25.
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The Timberwolves will be looking for frontcourt help, so Randle and Kuzma make sense. Parting with both would be painful for the Lake Show, but it’s unlikely Randle returns anyway. Fans would hate to see Kuzma go, but Towns has a higher ceiling, fills a more significant need and could be one of the league’s elite bigs if his defense improves. At 22 years of age, I’d imagine that’ll happen eventually.
Everything considered, it’s a reasonable price to pay for one of the NBA’s most exciting young centers. Furthermore, it gives the Lakers a legitimate starter at the 5-spot, and doesn’t cost them the cap space they need to sign two max-contract players during 2018 NBA free agency.
How so? Well at this moment, Towns is scheduled to make only $6.2 million in 2018-19. If the Lakers stretched Luol Deng‘s contract and renounced the rights of nearly all non-guaranteed players, they’d create just enough space under the cap (about $65 million) to be able to sign both LeBron James and Paul George to max contracts (though he is major contract extension this summer).
Still, could you imagine a lineup that consisted of Lonzo Ball, George, James and Towns? The rest of the roster would need to be made up of mostly minimum contract veterans and inexperienced youngsters, but that starting lineup would immediately put the Lakers among the top contenders in the West. It would be a risky move, but maybe Magic deems it necessary?
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let me say this: I see almost no situation in which the Lakers make this move, and it may not even be worth making. As great as Towns can be at times, he’s a liability on the defensive end and isn’t the elite talent some make him out to be yet. On top of that, I find it hard to believe Randle would agree to be dealt to Minnesota.
All that being said, this is the part of the year during which speculation runs rampant. I mean, we’re talking about the Lakers potentially trading for Towns without any real indication of interest.
What I’m trying to say is don’t get your hopes up. If you’re really that desperate to see Towns in purple and gold, you can satiate that need here.