While one of their All-Stars could be on his way out of Minnesota, the Timberwolves are reportedly ready to make the other the future of the franchise.
According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, former No. 1 overall pick Karl-Anthony Towns has agreed to sign a five-year, $190 super-maximum extension with Minnesota. Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic adds that the deal comes with a 15-percent trade kicker.
In a deal that cements him as the franchise’s long-term cornerstone, Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star center Karl-Anthony Towns has agreed to a 5-year, $190M super-maximum extension, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 23, 2018
In a statement reported by ESPN, Towns announced his "recommitment" to the Timberwolves and thanked fans for "believing in me."
On June 25, 2015, I was drafted to and committed to the Minnesota Timberwolves. On September 22, 2018, I made a recommitment to the Wolves and have the same feelings of excitement that I felt back in 2015.
"I promise to the fans, my teammates and the organization to keep the vision of the man who drafted me, Flip Saunders, alive and treat his dream of winning with respect and dignity. To the fans from Day One and the Timberwolves fans, this is for you. Thank you for believing in me.
Towns also tweeted a video of highlights with the Timberwolves titled "5 More."
“5 More” pic.twitter.com/aBRVJJBvdh— Karl-Anthony Towns (@KarlTowns) September 23, 2018
Still just 22 years old, Towns is coming off his third NBA season and Minnesota's first playoff run since 2004. The 7-foot big man averaged 21.3 points, 12.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game while shooting 54.5 percent from the field and a career-best 42.1 percent from 3-point range.
Towns struggled in his playoff debut against Houston, averaging just 15.3 points per game on 46.7 percent shooting (27.3 percent from 3). Minnesota, however, appears poised to keep the second-youngest All-Star in franchise history behind Kevin Garnett (1997, 20 years old).
The news comes less than a week after veteran Jimmy Butler reportedly asked the Timberwolves to trade him. With Towns locked up long-term, it appears Minnesota is prepared to move on from Butler, whom they acquired during the 2017 NBA Draft. Shams Charania of The Athletic reports that, after differing agendas between ownership and management, the franchise is "aligning its organizational focus on next step of trading" the four-time All-Star.
Minnesota is aligning its organizational focus on next step of trading All-Star Jimmy Butler, league sources tell me and @JonKrawczynski.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) September 23, 2018
Entering last season, Butler was heralded as the established star Minnesota needed to snap its playoff drought and bring along its talented young core. Instead the former Chicago Bull could very well have played his 64th and last game in a Timberwolves uniform just one year after Minnesota dealt Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkanen to acquire him.