While no trade ideas were immediately proposed after rumors first swirled that the New York Knicks might be interested in Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns, a recent report changed that, suggesting that the team could acquire the superstar big men for a trade package centered on veteran forward Marcus Morris and backup point guard Dennis Smith Jr.
On Sunday, Fansided blog Empire Writes Back pointed out that the recent Towns rumors seem to make sense, given how Smith has also found himself in reports suggesting he might be moved before the February trade deadline. While Towns has posted dominating performances for the Timberwolves when healthy, Smith has been relegated to third-string duties this season, two years after he had a successful rookie year as a top 10 draft pick for the Dallas Mavericks.
Considering Smith’s current lack of playing time behind Elfrid Payton and Frank Ntilikina, Empire Writes Back explained that he won’t have much value as a standalone trade component for the Timberwolves, even if the Knicks include the two first-round draft picks they acquired from Dallas in the trade that sent Kristaps Porzingis to the Mavericks last season. Although the publication suggested that this might force New York to wait until the 2020 offseason before trying to acquire Towns, it was noted that the team may have “one last hope” in the form of Morris, who has been producing career-best numbers in the 2019-20 season.
7️⃣ threes last night Karl-Anthony Towns, who is a center ???? pic.twitter.com/iO2aKIoWDD
— Whistle (@WhistleSports) November 19, 2019
As further explained, the 30-year-old Morris could be an appealing acquisition for teams in the hunt for a spot in the playoffs — the Timberwolves included despite their ongoing slump and 11-20 win-loss record. Per Basketball-Reference, the power forward is averaging 18.3 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.5 assists, while shooting 42.9 percent from the field and a far more impressive 45.9 percent from three-point range.
“If the Knicks could use this leverage for a future first-round draft pick, they may have enough of a package for Towns,” Empire Writes Back speculated. “Both Minnesota and New York are desperate for a change, and the T-Wolves would be gathering lots of potential young talent, while the Knicks would finally be getting the star power they’ve needed.”
Talking about the potential impact of such a move, the outlet concluded by stressing that the proposed trade should give New York some hope for the future, as Towns could team up with rookie wingman R.J. Barrett and a future lottery pick to give the Knicks “something real,” even if they fail to acquire a top free agent like Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo in the summer of 2021.