“I think the Knicks need to do something,” Barkley said during the halftime of the Knicks’ 109-91 rout of the Cleveland Cavaliers Tuesday night. “You see how this movie’s going to end.”
For Barkley, the Cavaliers had a higher ceiling despite the Knicks eliminating them in five games during the first round of the playoffs last season.
A shorthanded Cavaliers proved no match for the tougher Knicks during their Tuesday rematch. If they’re healthy, Barkley believes the Cavaliers are the better team because they have more talent.
“But for me, the Knicks are like, ‘We play hard. We’re solid, but they’re not contenders,” Barkley explained. “So if I’m them, I’m like we got to do something. All those draft picks we got, what ‘What are we saving them for?’ Go out and make a move because you gotta say to yourself, ‘We’re not in the conversation with Boston and Milwaukee.’”
Charles Barkley: Knicks Should Get Karl-Anthony Towns
Barkley named Towns, who signed a four-year, $224 million extension last year, as their realistic trade target.
Towns had been routinely linked to the Knicks since his former agent, Leon Rose, became the Knicks president. The rumors persisted in the offseason after the Towns-Rudy Gobert frontline appeared to be an odd fit.
Barkley called the Timberwolves’ Gobert move as one of the stupidest trades ever.
Minnesota is 1-2 to start the season, with the Towns-Gobert lineups having a minus-8.6 net rating in 59 minutes of playing together, according to NBA.com’s advanced stats.
“[If I’m the Knicks], I will go out personally to get Towns because this team here is not going to win anything,” Barkley said. “They beat Cleveland last year, but they’re not a contender and you can’t be mediocre and stick with that.”
Towns is off to a slow start this season following his stellar FIBA World Cup campaign. Through the Timberwolves’ first three games, Towns is only averaging a career-low 15.7 points on 37% shooting from the field and 24% from downtown.
Could a change of scenery inspire Towns to regain his All-Star form?
Tom Thibodeau Admires Karl-Anthony Towns Offensive Gifts
Towns revealed before he faced the Knicks in a preseason game last October 14 that he’d already squashed his beef with Tom Thibodeau, his former coach in Minnesota. With no more trace of animosity in Towns’ heart, he spoke highly of the Knicks coach.
“I got no problems with Thibs. We’ve been squashed that,” Towns said before their October 14 preseason game, according to the Post. “I still look at Thibs as one of the best Xs and Os coaches I’ve been able to play for. He breathes winning and I got nothing but respect for him.”
Towns’ comments came a day after Thibodeau praised him.
“Watching the progress he’s made throughout his career, he’s as gifted as they come,” Thibodeau said, according to the Post. “When you look at an offensive player, particularly a big, the skill set that he has — I think we all saw, to win the 3-point contest and stuff like that — there’s nothing he can’t do offensively.”
Towns earned his first All-Star berth, in 2017-18, under Thibodeau.