Minnesota Timberwolves: winners and losers from Karl-Anthony Towns’ super-max deal

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The combination of Towns’ deal and possible Butler trade could temporarily drop the Timberwolves in the Western Conference pecking order.

Timberwolves fans may not want to hear this, but the Towns’ deal will not translate to wins immediately. It will have the opposite effect instead.

Towns getting paid by the Timberwolves will temporarily stymie their cap flexibility. Not that the Timberwolves were in a good place financially already. However, in a couple of seasons, things should improve.

Towns’ deal will not count towards the salary cap until next year, and it will look like a bargain as he continues to blossom as a star. Unfortunately, the other contracts on the Timberwolves will come back to haunt the team this season and next.

Andrew Wiggins has his big contract, as does Taj Gibson, Jeff Teague, and Gorgui Dieng. The Timberwolves already lost the valuable Nemanja Bjelica in free agency due to financial restrictions. Chances of the Timberwolves being able to improve their roster aside from a Jimmy Butler trade is slim.

The Timberwolves had already lost ground in the Western Conference hierarchy with each team improving drastically or incrementally. Signing Towns to an extension signals that the Timberwolves have chosen a side in the beef between their young star and older star.

To fault the Timberwolves for adorning Towns over Butler as their franchise face is foolish. Towns has at least a decade of dominance left in him, barring an injury. The decision to keep him while entertaining trade scenarios for Butler is huge for teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers. The latter of whom is Butler’s preferred destination.

The Lakers have likely leapfrogged the Timberwolves already. The Clippers draw even to the Timberwolves once Butler is dealt and they would surpass them if Butler goes there.