The NBA is in the midst of an offseason in which numerous star players have been traded or signed with new teams as free agents. When a star player is in a squad that hasn’t been competing with the league’s top teams — such as Anthony Davis with the New Orleans Pelicans last season or Bradley Beal with the Washington Wizards now — it’s often the case that he’ll show up in trade rumors.
One such instance is big man Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Fans of the Timberwolves have seen stars like Kevin Garnett and Kevin Love leave for others in the past, and win championships with their new teams.
However, Towns says in a new interview that he’s committed to Minnesota.
Towns’ comments came in an interview with The Athletic, as cited by NBC Sports. “I’m here. I’m actually in Minnesota. You can write about that what you want.” He also talked in the interview about having landed many endorsement deals, and how he doesn’t feel playing in as small a market as Minnesota has hurt him in that department.
“I love my front office. I love my coaching staff. I think we’ve made great moves and great changes,” Towns said. “I love the culture we have here. If you want to leave, you have to be miserable somewhere. I am not there. I’m planning to be in Minnesota for a long time.”
The article suggests that Towns is working out in Minnesota in the offseason, along with several teammates, and he touted his good relationships with coach Ryan Saunders, who was the team’s interim coach for a portion of last season, and Gersson Rosas, the Timberwolves’ new top front office executive. This following two years of turmoil in which Tom Thibodeau was hired, and then fired, as coach and player personnel boss, and veteran star Jimmy Butler arrived and left town in acrimonious fashion.
The 23-year-old player, known as KAT, is about to begin his fifth year with the Wolves. He signed a five-year $190 million max contract with Minnesota last year, and the new contract kicks in this fall.
The team pursued free agent guard D’Angelo Russell in the offseason; Russell is a friend of Towns’, and the two players were the top two draft choices in the 2015 NBA Draft. However, Russell went on to sign with the Golden State Warriors.
The story added that with several veteran players having left the team in the offseason, Towns will now be counted on for locker room leadership.