“I think I’ve done a lot of things here. I’m very proud of the things I’ve been able to do so far,” Towns said in response to the final question of the session about whether he considers Minnesota a second home. “But I have a lot of things that have to be talked about, so I’ll move on.”
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Jon Krawczynski: Talked to Karl-Anthony Towns at his camp today. Very happy to talk about the work he’s done with the kids over 3 years. Again, not interested in discussing contract/Wolves situation.
It also comes while the Timberwolves are in the early stages of discussions with Towns’ representatives about a max-level contract, league sources told The Athletic. Towns recently returned to the United States after vacationing in Italy, and there was hope that the talks could become more substantive now that he’s back home.
If Towns and the Timberwolves eventually reach agreement, a five-year extension would pay him $158 million. That number could increase to closer to $190 million if Towns makes an All-NBA team next season like he did in 2017-18.
Michael Scotto: The Athletic Sources: Karl-Anthony Towns and the Minnesota Timberwolves are discussing a maximum rookie scale contract extension, colleague @JonKrawczynski and I are told.
The Timberwolves have no interest in trading Towns and Towns has not come close to making such a request, according to sources, so all signs point to a deal eventually getting done. Those negotiations also will likely provide an opportunity for constructive communication between Towns, Thibodeau and Taylor, who always likes to get involved in these major deals.
The Wolves can sign Towns to a five-year maximum contract extension this summer; under the NBA’s labor agreement they can give two players coming off their rookie contracts such an offer. They used the first to sign Wiggins last October to an extension worth at least $146 million. “Obviously, you know how we feel about Karl also, so we feel the same way about him being here,” Thibodeau said. “We want him here for a long time and at the appropriate time we’ll sit down and talk with him. But he’s a huge part of our future.”
And 2019 is the year that Towns likely will have a new contract kicking in, too — he will be eligible for an extension next summer. He has taken notice of the rich deals that the league has been giving out to top players lately, including the four-year, $228 million deal that James Harden received from the Rockets. “Unbelievable,” Towns said. “For his ability to have $57 million in the bank yearly is something special, but it speaks to the popularity of the NBA, how well it is doing. I am so fortunate to be part of the league at this time, not just because it is lucrative, but because it is at its strongest point, the best foundation that has been built by the NBA and the players who came before us.”
Taylor said that the Wolves’ plans involve extending Wiggins now and Karl-Anthony Towns next year. “We are talking to [Wiggins’] agent right now about extending him out another five years, so we can do that,” Taylor said. “Karl, we won’t do that until next year. Wiggins, we want to sign him to a long-term contract, we want to keep him here, and we’re negotiating with his agent. But we just started that negotiation, and we have quite some time to get that done.”
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July 22, 2018 | 12:15 pm EDT Update
What does the late Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss have to do with LeBron James joining his team in 2018? The query sounds like a trick question, but a new story has come to light that makes it seem as though Dr. Buss was the one to kickstart the Lakers’ eventual pursuit and signing of their now-superstar all the way back in 2010. The Lakers didn’t have nearly enough cap space then to actually be a serious threat to sign James. But according to Tania Ganguli of the L.A. Times, Buss was thinking beyond that: Buss thought about calling James anyway. Over lunch with his kids, he mentioned the idea, offhandedly. “It’d be good to know that guy,” his son Joey recalled him saying.
League rules allowed teams to meet with any free agent. Why not meet with James to introduce him to the Lakers’ vision? Why not sow the seeds of a future partnership? “LeBron was always somebody that he was interested in,” said Buss’ daughter Jeanie, the Lakers co-owner.
One colleague during that period was Nuggets coach Michael Malone, who was an assistant with the Cavaliers from 2005-10. Impressed with Fernandez’s development in the organization, Malone hired Fernandez as an assistant coach in 2016. “He gets his foot in the door,” Malone said of Fernandez, “and he’s going to find a way to continue to fill gaps and do things that are necessary for the team and the staff to move forward.”
Now, the 35-year-old Fernandez is regarded as an up-and-comer in his field, perhaps a future NBA head coach. There are two primary reasons why. One, he has a thirst for knowledge. And two, as one former boss said, he’s the ultimate “people coach.” “He’s been around Hall of Famers, but he’s also been around the last guys in the G League,” said Mike Gansey, the Cavaliers’ assistant general manager. “Whoever walks through that door, he can relate to them … he’s either watched it, lived it or seen it. That’s why he’s so valuable. “He gives more than basketball. That’s why I think our guys got so much better and people liked him so much … He could read people and knew when he had to get on them and when not (to) and how to treat them to get the most out of them.”
July 22, 2018 | 5:42 am EDT Update
The Thunder, Hawks and Sixers agreed on a deal that involves sending Anthony to the Hawks, and the Hawks plan to buy out Anthony, per USA TODAY Sports. It’s reported that the Rockets are the favorites to sign Anthony once that happens. Morey was asked, “So are we for sure getting Carmelo Anthony?” He responded, “In the mix.” Morey also said, “Yes,” as a reply to, “Does Daryl still have something up his sleeve?”
“It would be a great acquisition for us,” said Harden, who did run into Anthony at Paris Fashion Week last month when Harden was making the rounds with teammate P.J. Tucker. “Melo’s a proven vet. He just wants to win at this point, so it would be great for him to be on our team. The current roster we have now, we’ve got good guys back and we keep making forward progress.”
Italian team Fiat Torino announced the signing of Molloy product Jaylen Morris. Morris had a good rookie season in the NBA G League with the Erie BayHawks as he averaged 12.6 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. In late February, he was called up by the Atlanta Hawks.