But the landscape can change quickly during an NBA offseason—and the league’s new collective bargaining agreement, creating havoc for teams flirting with or already over its punitive spending thresholds, will make it way more difficult for the Wolves to preach patience with their big three. So, as posited by salary cap aficionados, somebody’s gotta go. Either this summer or next. Gobert—given his age (31), massive contract, and limited offensive skills—is a tough sell. The 21-year-old Edwards, one of the league’s most dynamic shooting guards, is untouchable. Theoretically, moving Towns makes the most sense—after signing a four-year, $244 million supermax extension last year, he’s eligible to be traded July 7th and could bring back a package of younger, cheaper players plus a desirable future draft pick or two. “I’ve been in Minnesota so long, anything’s possible,” says KAT.
Leaving Minnesota, where the connections run deep, would be tough. Towns publicly grieved the deaths of multiple family members during the pandemic, including his mother, Jacqueline, the center of the tight-knit Towns family.
“The thing that rocked his world was his mom passing away,” says his college coach, Kentucky’s John Calipari. “That was his rock and that was his why. He’s had to bounce back from that and he’s done good, but I imagine he’s still rocked by it.”
Towns has tried to take on her role while supporting his father, Karl Sr., and sister, Lachelle, and her family, while being the best partner he can be to his girlfriend, Jordyn Woods. It’s a lot, he admits in a vulnerable moment, especially during the season. But all the love and light Minnesota offered during his darkest moments deserves special recognition.
“This state has given me comfort when I needed it the most with my mother,” says KAT. “Basketball and the Minnesota Timberwolves gave me comfort when I needed it the most in my life. I hope in the long future that no matter how far I am away from the state of Minnesota we feel connected.”