It’s been an offseason filled with rumors and reports about Timberwolves star center Karl-Anthony Towns, so Wednesday seemed like the perfect opportunity for Towns to take his size 20 shoes and squash them all.
But with a media availability scheduled at Towns’ basketball camp at Providence Academy in Plymouth, Towns instead used his deft footwork uncommon for a big man to sidestep the big topics.
Before the session began, one of the camp organizers informed the large assembled media contingency that Towns would only be answering questions about his camp and said the interview would be shut down if we deviated from that script.
So if you were wondering where things stand with the massive contract extension the Wolves can offer and Towns can accept this summer? Or maybe you were curious about Towns’ reaction to player development coach Vince Legarza, who did extensive pregame work with Towns, being let go?
Maybe you were uneasy about an ESPN podcast in May that suggested Towns and the Wolves are “not in a good place internally and sparked trade chatter. Perhaps things got more concerning when a different report a couple weeks ago said Jimmy Butler has a beef with Towns and his attitude.
Hey, we tried. The best the group could get were some sincere platitudes about working with kids and some read-between-the-lines comments that kicked the can down the road for another day.
First, the kids. Towns has always looked comfortable, affable and playful in these settings. This was the third year he’s had a basketball camp in Minnesota, and he should be commended for it.
“You just see them learn something new they’ve never seen before or heard before,” Towns said, “and you see their eyes light up for how much they want to learn the game of basketball.”
But when he was asked if he could envision himself hosting the camp in the same Providence Academy gym for the next five or six years – kudos to KSTP’s Darren Wolfson for the clever question phrasing, attempting to get a hint at Towns’ long-term future in Minnesota – Towns demurred.
“Um, I don’t know,” he said. “This is a really nice place.”
Towns said he spent his summer unwinding for a change, which included a trip to Italy. When he said he “forgot what it is to live a normal life and have a vacation,” it was a reminder of his transition. He’s no longer a wide-eyed rookie. He’s a young star at a seeming crossroads.
“It’s amazing. (Kevin Garnett) told me you blink and time flies. I remember doing my first (camp) in Minnesota, being so excited, finding a way to win Rookie of the Year and really celebrating with the campers,” Towns said. “Then you blink and I’m already going into my fourth year. So many more things have happened in my life. It’s an intriguing thing.”
How the rest of his career will play out remains to be seen. Maybe all this offseason chatter is just noise and Towns will sign a max contract with the Wolves while declaring all is well. But if you wanted clarity Wednesday, Towns offered anything but that.
“I think I’ve done a lot of things here. I’m very proud of the things I’ve been able to do so far,” Towns said in response to the final question of the session about whether he considers Minnesota a second home. “But I have a lot of things that have to be talked about, so I’ll move on.”