Could the Knicks land Karl-Anthony Towns for less than expected?

nba: preseason-minnesota timberwolves at new york knicks, mitchell robinson
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The New York Knicks have the chance to trade for Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns, who has enjoyed more team success than individual production in the early parts of the season. Could this require the Knicks to give up less in a potential midseason trade?

Are Role Players Enough For Knicks to Snag Towns?

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst does not envision the Knicks coughing up much draft capital for Towns while colleague Tim McMahon asserted that a collection of role players included in a package would be enticing for the Wolves:

As the season approaches the 10-game mark, Towns is averaging 19.2 points on 34.7 percent shooting from the three-point line, both of which are the lowest since his rookie season. Additionally, his 45.1 percent clip from the field is a career-low, but the early success that Minnesota has enjoyed has not made his production a cause for much concern.

Evidently, playing next to Gobert has not been a train wreck as opposed to last season. The Timberwolves (7-2) own the league’s best defensive rating (102.0) and the two-big duo has not compromised their defense on the outside as they hold teams to an NBA-best 31.3 percent shooting from three.

How the Knicks Would Have to Make the Money Work to Acquire Towns

Should the Knicks make a play before the deadline, they’ll be able to get Towns at $16 million cheaper as opposed to executing a deal ahead of the 2024-25 campaign. Towns’ gargantuan contract will balloon his annual salary to roughly $52 million next season and as much as $64.6 million in 2027-28.

RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson have been the two Knicks players most closely linked to the trade block. Barrett has become much more efficient as the most consistent scorer for the Knicks this season. Robinson has been a monster on the glass, collecting a league-leading 5.8 offensive rebounds per game.

With a trade not likely to occur in the short term, the Knicks will have time to see if Barrett’s stellar play lasts and if Robinson continues in his stride as an emerging rebounding champion candidate. Together with Evan Fournier’s nearly $19 million contract, the Knicks could mix and match any two of the three along with ancillary pieces to send as an offer to the Wolves. If Barrett’s play continues to allow the Knicks to transcend their early woes, a deal may otherwise fall through.

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