Karl-Anthony Towns and D'Angelo Russell have played only 4 games together this season in what was expected to be a year when the T-Wolves could push for a playoff berth. Instead, Minnesota is rooted to the bottom of the West with the worst record in the league and both injury-plagued stars are being seen as surplus to requirements, according to the latest NBA trade rumors.
Should the rumors prove to bear fruit, we could see a major shake-up in the Minnesota Timberwolves lineup next season. Karl-Anthony Towns will inevitably attract plenty of suitors with a high asking price, while D'Angelo Russell will also gain some traction but has had three injury-hit seasons throughout his young career.
NBA Trade Rumors: How the Minnesota Timberwolves may look should they part ways with superstars
Bringing in D'Angelo Russell last season was a move in the right direction for Minnesota Timberwolves fans and proof the franchise could compete in the 2020-21 campaign and beyond, especially with their No.1 overall pick to come.
While Anthony Edwards has adapted rapidly to the league and looks the standout rookie of the year since LaMelo Ball's injury, he has only taken the floor with both stars on 4 occasions. In those games, the three had an offensive rating of 127.7 and net rating of 16.3. Although the sample size is small, it does go to show what could have been for the Minnesota Timberwolves this season.
Nevertheless, they cannot reverse the past and will be looking to move on from this year and embrace a rebuild. In doing so, they can bring in a huge reward, especially for Karl-Anthony Towns.
Towns is one of the league's premier big men and one of its most versatile. Spending his 6 years in the NBA so far with the Minnesota Timberwolves, the 25-year old has averaged 22.8 points in his career and 11.7 rebounds. He is a high-percentage scorer, shooting at close to 50% from the field and 40.5% from downtown on 5.9 attempts per matchup.
Given the array of assets the Orlando Magic brought in for Nikola Vucevic and Al-Farouq Aminu last week (Wendell Carter Jr., Otto Porter Jr. and two future first-round picks), Minnesota can set their asking price high.
After all, Towns is five years younger and has only one less All-Star appearance than Vucevic. The only stumbling block for the Minnesota Timberwolves may be his $30m+ contract which still has three years left in it after this season.
D'Angelo Russell, meanwhile, has two years left on his $30m a season contract before he becomes an unrestricted free agent and would be looking at his fifth team already if NBA trade rumors are to be believed.
Russell has shown signs of his former self this season, averaging 19.3 points and 5.1 assists across 20 games. But Russell has not had the impact he or the Minnesota Timberwolves would've hoped for given the need for his knee surgery.
By giving the team a shake-up in the summer it could bring success in the coming years. Unfortunately because of their injuries, Towns and Russell haven't proven the impact they could have had this year but offloading their contracts for young stars and future draft picks may prove more worthwhile in the long-run.