“If the Nets are unable to secure some floor spacing from the 4 or 5 in a more economical fashion, they could send Ben Simmons‘ contract (which expires three years earlier than KAT’s) and a pick or two from the Kevin Durant haul for Towns,” wrote Andy Bailey of Bleacher Report on June 23.”
– Karl-Anthony Towns
– Ben Simmons
– 2025 1st Round Pick (via PHX)
– 2027 1st Round Pick (via PHX)
Towns, 27, averaged 20.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, and a career-high 4.8 assists this past season while shooting 49.5% from the floor and 36.6% from deep. The 6-foot-11 skilled center only made 29 appearances this past season as he dealt with a calf injury. But, at his peak, Towns has averaged 26.5 points (2019-20) and 12.4 rebounds (2018-19) in his career.
He has not been shy about claiming his spot in NBA history, either.
“I’m the greatest big man shooter of all time,” Towns told John Krawczynski of The Athletic on June 16. “That’s a fact. You can see the stats.”
Towns is averaging 23.0 points on 62.3% true shooting while canning 39.5% of his threes so far in a career that has seen him earn three trips to the All-Star game and two All-NBA selections after he won Rookie of the Year in 2015-16.
When asked about the trade rumors, Towns has put the ball firmly in the Timbwerwolves’ court.
“All I’m gonna say on it, the rumors are as true or as false as Minnesota makes them to be,” Towns said on the ‘Pat Bev Podcast with Rone’ on June 14.
Nets Could Take Advantage of Timberwolves’ Finances
The former No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft is heading into the final year of a five-year, $158.2 million contract.
He is starting a four-year, $224 million contract after next season which could reach up to $234 million with incentives which is a big part of why there has been speculation about his future in Minnesota.
“The Timberwolves were paying two centers max money for the foreseeable future,” wrote Krawczynski on June 22. “That has become even more important in recent months when it became clear that the new collective bargaining agreement will make it even harder on teams to sail past the luxury tax.”
Minnesota is currently more than $21 million below the luxury tax threshold, per Spotrac. But, as Krawczynski notes, Anthony Edwards is up for a new contract that will likely put them into the luxury tax. They were the eight-seed this past season losing to the eventual champion Denver Nuggets in the first round of the playoffs this season.
Taking on Simmons would add $1.8 million to the Timberwolves’ books for this coming season but would shave in the neighborhood of $190 million from their ledger overall. And, if not this offseason, they can explore this deal next season when Simmons will be on an expiring contract.
Brooklyn is staring down the luxury tax this offseason but has mechanisms to create more space.
Nets Could Flip Ben Simmons’ Contract
Simmons, 26, was the No. 1 overall pick in 2016 by the Philadelphia 76ers where injuries bookended his tenure. He was traded to the Nets for James Harden at the 2021-22 trade deadline but missed the entire campaign with a back injury and mental health issues.
This past season, he suited up for 42 games averaging 6.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 6.1 assists but was shut down due to a back injury.
But Brooklyn was 24-18 when Simmons played this past season, even in his diminished state.
Most of that success was thanks to Durant and Kyrie Irving – the Nets were 2-3 with Simmons in the lineup after the trade deadline. However, he is still the only player on the Nets’ roster with an All-Star appearance to his credit (three to be exact). He’s also a two-time All-Defensive pick, a former All-NBA selection, and, like Towns, a former Rookie of the Year.
He is heading into Year 4 of a five-year, $177.2 million contract that has long been thought to require payment (i.e. draft compensation) just to move it.
In this potential scenario, the Nets do that and then some.