Despite plenty of speculation, the New York Knicks have yet to make an eye-popping trade this offseason. The expectation is that New York will make a move whether it is this offseason or the next, but there is one available star player that the organization should avoid.
Karl-Anthony Towns, the star big man from the Minnesota Timberwolves, has been heavily linked to New York since the offseason began. On the surface, Towns would appear to fit the Knicks’ timeline as well as their biggest needs on the court. However, there are two massive stipulations to making a trade for Towns that could set the Knicks on a backward trajectory.
Karl-Anthony Towns would optimize the Knicks’ shooting and spacing
Towns is a high-scoring center who is a career 39.5% shooter from outside. His ability to space the floor as a center would be a dream fit for a Knicks team that came into this offseason looking to add shooting. However, Towns is a liability on the defensive side and has gotten progressively worse in that area over the past few seasons.
[su_posts template=”templates/list-loop.php” posts_per_page=”3″ tax_term=”1622552″ offset=”1″ order=”desc”]
Could Towns fit in with Tom Thibodeau’s defensive culture?
Since the 2020-21 season, Towns has a defensive rating of 111.7, compared to 108.1 in the years prior. As most Knicks fans know, head coach Tom Thibodeau implores a tightly-knit defensive philosophy, and Towns’ level of talent on that side of the floor does not fit said philosophy.
While the scoring output would undoubtedly rise, the amount New York gives up on the other end would rise as well, likely leading to fewer wins. Last season, New York went 22-34 in games where they allowed 108 points or more, compared to 25-1 when they allowed less than 108 points, according to @KnicksMuse on X.
Most of the team’s defensive prowess comes from underneath the rim, and replacing that rim protection with a defensive liability would ultimately make the team worse.
Managing an unattractive contract
Towns signed a five-year, $158 million contract with Minnesota before the 2019 season, followed by a four-year, $222 million extension that kicks in starting with the 2024-25 season, according to Spotrac.
The area of the contract that makes it far less appealing for New York is that it is an ascending contract, and he is currently set to make over $61 million in the final year of his extension.
Towns’ talent level at the center position is remarkable, especially from an offensive standpoint. However, acquiring a player who is expected to make such a significant amount of money would put the Knicks in a tough financial situation. This deal could potentially bar New York from being able to compete in the free agent market.
It is also worth noting that New York is currently struggling to get Evan Fournier’s contract off of their books, and will eventually have to work out an extension with Jalen Brunson once he is eligible.
The Knicks need to utilize their available resources to become a significantly better team in the near future. Dumping a bunch of assets in a trade for a cap causality in Towns would cause a setback to their championship aspirations.
Hesitancy surrounding a potential deal for Towns
While Karl-Anthony Towns sounds like an intriguing move, it is one that the Knicks should think twice about before hastily pulling the trigger. Evidently, the Knicks have been patiently waiting for the right guy to become available, and it will be interesting to see if they consider making a deal for Towns.
Follow this writer on X/Twitter: @DylanBacker_