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Report: Timberwolves, Karl-Anthony Towns talking max extension

Timberwolves Lakers Basketball

Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns celebrates after making a basket against the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Monday, Dec. 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)


Karl-Anthony Towns was the Third Team All-NBA center last season, averaging 21.3 points and 12.3 rebounds a game, shooting 54.5 percent from the floor.

That in just his third NBA season.

He is the definition of a no-brainer max contract extension, and the two sides are talking about it according to Michael Scotto and Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic.

The only negotiation is about what kind of contract Towns wants. He likely will sign the “designated” rookie-scale extension — what Andrew Wiggins signed with the Timberwolves last season — and that means five years and $158 million (25 percent of the salary cap). However, if he makes All-NBA again next year he can get 30 percent of the cap, or $190 million over five.

Offensively, Towns is going to earn that contract. However, if he really wants to lift Minnesota to contender level is defense has to get better and more consistent. He still does not read that end of the floor well, and the effort is not there nightly.

This deal is going to get done, but it leaves a lot of questions about the future of the Timberwolves. Towns is an elite-level player who Minnesota has to bring back, unquestionably, but Jimmy Butler is not a fan of Towns and his work ethic. There appear to be factions within the Timberwolves locker room, with the hard-driving Tom Thibodeau and his backers like Butler on one side, Towns and the younger players on another, and Wiggins off in his own world (everyone seems frustrated with him, especially after his lackluster effort and focus after signing his big deal a year ago). One way or another changes are coming to that team in the next year, the chemistry is rough, and signing Towns to a max extension may signal where the franchise is going to plant its flag.