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Minnesota Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns doesn't want to go anywhere, and he believes he'll be back next season. "I've been here nine years," Towns told reporters after the Timberwolves' season-ending 124-103 loss against the Dallas Mavericks in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals on Thursday. "I would love for the tenure to keep going."

Towns elaborated: "I'm confident that I'm going to be able to be here with my brothers and continue to do what I love here at home. So that's the plan. Nothing's ever changed on my side, and I love this city, I love this organization."

The Timberwolves' big man, drafted No. 1 overall in 2015, made his fourth All-Star appearance this season, and Minnesota advanced beyond the first round for the first time in his career. Next season, his 10th with the franchise, Towns will enter Year 1 of the four-year extension that will pay him an estimated $221.1 million. Under the NBA's new collective bargaining agreement, there are severe penalties and team-building restrictions for big spenders, which is relevant here because, not only is Towns' 2024-25 salary almost $50 million, but the combined 2024-25 salaries of Rudy Gobert, Anthony Edwards and Jaden McDaniels total almost $109 million.

Trade rumors may be inevitable in this context, but given that Towns played an enormous role in the Wolves knocking out the defending champion Denver Nuggets in the second round, it would be a strange time to move him. On Thursday, Towns expressed his appreciation for Minnesota's best season in two decades and lamented that it was over.

"I'm just happy, after all the years I've been here and all the ups and downs, to see the city come together so much for this team, it's heartwarming," Towns said. "For someone who's been here, who's seen both sides, to just see how much love these fans have given us and how much excitement we've given them in this playoff run as well, and this season, it brings joy to me. Because, like I said, I've seen the other side of it. 

"I think that's what makes this so disappointing," he continued. "These fans deserved a chance to see the Finals. I think this team, of course, we feel that we deserved it, we put the work in, but these fans, after all these years, they've given us so much this playoff run, this season. It hurts when you feel you let 'em down. So it's a tough one."

Individually, Towns struggled in the first three games of the conference finals, and these struggles contributed to the Wolves finding themselves in a 3-0 hole. His uneven play against Dallas is not in itself a reason to speculate about his future, but, because of the salary crunch, the ongoing ownership battle between Glen Taylor and the duo of Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez and the resulting uncertainty about team president Tim Connelly, no one can be sure what will happen to the roster this summer.

Connelly left the Nuggets for Minnesota in 2022 with the understanding that Lore and Rodriguez would assume full control of the team heading into this offseason. His contract has an opt-out clause after this season. In the coming days, Connelly intends to meet with Taylor, per The Athletic's Jon Krawczyski and Shams Charania, but he will have to make a decision about whether or not to stick around without knowing how the dispute will play out.

"That's not for me to worry about," Towns said of the ownership situation. He added, "I can't speak on that, I can't control that."