While time is running out on the Minnesota Timberwolves to sign Karl-Anthony Towns to a contract extension, team president and head coach Tom Thibodeau doesn't feel a sense of desperation to lock down his superstar big man just yet.
Thibodeau told fairgoers at the Minnesota State Fair on Monday that he's "very optimistic" that Towns will ink an extension before the 2018-19 regular season gets underway.
"We know how important Karl is to the future of the franchise," he said, according to the Star Tribune's Jerry Zgoda.
After earning a spot on the All-NBA Third team last season, Towns became eligible for a five-year, $187-million extension that would go into effect at the start of the 2019-20 campaign. Should the Timberwolves fail to complete an extension, the 22-year-old would hit restricted free agency next summer.
Last season, Minnesota qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2004, eventually bowing out to the No. 1-seeded Houston Rockets in five games with three of the four losses coming by 18 or more points.
Reports then started to emerge that there was tension between Towns and Thibodeau, although they were later squashed by Thibodeau himself when he said he and his franchise cornerstone were "in a good place."
Towns ranked 20th in the Association in scoring (21.3 points), fourth in rebounding (12.3 boards), and 11th in rejections (1.4 blocks) for the 47-win Timberwolves.