Storyline: Karl-Anthony Towns Extension

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Karl-Anthony Towns in waiting mode

Shams Charania: There’s been a lot of uncertainty around Jimmy Butler all summer. He hasn’t been back to Minnesota. This is going to be a telltale week for him. Very much so, I’m told, this a last-ditch meeting for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Tom Thibodeau, and how they respond and how Jimmy responds to it will be interesting. Karl-Anthony Towns, who’s one of the top talents in the league, has yet to sign to sign his rookie max extension, which should be a no-brainer. And I’m told there won’t be any decision on that until this Jimmy Butler situation resolves itself.

During the Aug. 27 episode of ESPN’s “The Jump,” Windhorst said “there’s nothing happening right now” between the Wolves and Towns. “The fact that this isn’t getting done yet is sort of eye-brow raising,” Windhorst said. “To me, I believe he’s going to sign it. There’s never been a player who hasn’t signed it. The question again will be, to me: What type of deal is it? Is it a full five-year extension? Is it KAT saying this is where I want to be? Or does he take the shorter extension?”

What’s the feeling you get about KAT – amendable situation or not? Jon Krawczynski: I don’t think we’ve reached a breaking point between Towns and the organization. Had that been the case, I could have seen him canceling the Minnesota basketball camp to avoid coming back to town. As reported at The Athletic during summer league, the Wolves have put a max contract offer in front of his representatives. But as KAT first made clear to me in a phone call from Italy, and as he reiterated last week in Plymouth, there is still some communication that needs to take place before pen is put to paper.

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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November 16, 2018 | 9:33 pm EST Update