In today’s NBA, superstars playing for smaller market franchises are slowly drifting toward furthering their careers in larger markets. In recent years alone, LeBron James left Cleveland for Los Angeles, Anthony Davis has demanded a trade out of New Orleans, Kawhi Leonard left Toronto for Los Angeles, Paul George worked his way out of both Indiana and Oklahoma City to join Leonard with the Clippers, Kemba Walker left Charlotte to sign with Boston, and Kyrie Irving demanded a trade out of Cleveland, among other moves.
With the Timberwolves winning just one playoff game since Karl-Anthony Towns arrived in Minnesota, there has been speculation that the former Wildcat star might be the next in line to demand a trade in favor of a larger market and/or a better opportunity to win games.
In an interview with Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic, Towns wants the world to know that he’s not going anywhere “for a long time.”
“The biggest thing when you have that conversation is you say, ‘Is he happy here?’” Towns said. “I’m tremendously happy. I love my front office. I love my coaching staff. I think we’ve made great moves and great changes. 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.”
Towns, who averaged 24.4 points, 12.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 1.6 blocks per game during the 2018-19 season en route to his second NBA All-Star selection, admitted that he let the small market narrative get the best of him when he was originally drafted to Minnesota out of Kentucky. He expected limited branding opportunities and limited room for growth.
Going into his fifth season in the league, he’s happy to admit he was wrong about that mindset and is thrilled with how his time with the Timberwolves has gone.
“I thought when you were in Minnesota, you would have less opportunities. I’ve seemed to have only grown with my opportunities,” Towns said. “The idea of it being because of my market or where I’m at is a false narrative that’s written by people who want to keep big cities’ talent pool larger than others. It’s just not true. We’re in a digital age. Talent is talent wherever you are. We find it through social media and the markets and the companies know who they want to work with. It doesn’t matter where.”
And moving forward, Towns is confident that the Minnesota front office has a phenomenal blueprint in place to build a contender sooner rather than later.
“We have such a great game plan going in,” Towns said. “We have such a great front office and coaching staff. Everyone is so great at what they do and we’re so connected. It’s amazing when not only are the players so connected, but the whole organization on the back end is connected.”
With so much movement in today’s NBA, it’s certainly refreshing to see Towns wanting to stick around for the long haul.
And for Kentucky fans buying Towns’ jersey in Minnesota, it certainly makes them feel better about their investments paying off.
For the rest of Krawczynski’s feature on The Athletic, you can head here.