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ESPN’s Marks would be stunned if Suns traded for Karl-Anthony Towns

Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) drives against Phoenix Suns center Tyson Chandler in the first quarter during an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Dec. 23, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

It’s gotten messy discussing what the Suns should do with the No. 1 overall pick. Who should they draft between Deandre Ayton, Luka Doncic or a darkhorse candidate after that?

Messier it’s gotten with the podcast-generated discussion from ESPN’s Zach Lowe and Brian Windhorst that indicated things in Minnesota are “not in a good place internally” between the Timberwolves and forward Karl-Anthony Towns.

That, plus Phoenix general manager Ryan McDonough’s admittance that the Suns would consider trading the top pick, plus Devin Booker’s trolling on the Towns report, brought this question: Would the Suns trade the No. 1 pick for Towns?

The debate is messy because Phoenix would seemingly need to include much more than just the top pick in the draft to acquire Towns.

That and T-Wolves would have to be, ahem — absolutely insane to trade a 23-year-old All-Star 7-footer who has never been hurt, averaged 20 and 10 the last two years, and shot 42 percent from three-point range this season.

“I would be stunned if they moved Karl-Anthony Towns,” ESPN insider Bobby Marks told Bickley & Marotta on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. “I think you would see (coach) Tom Thibodeau get fired first.

“I think guys like that — I don’t want to say are next-to-impossible to move — but based on his age, his position and he’s on a rookie contract … I would think it would cost Phoenix all of their draft picks if he was ever in play. I’m talking 1, 16, 31, the Milwaukee pick, that Miami pick in the future.”

That reality should be sobering for Suns fans.

Towns is a proven big man who would help the team win now alongside Booker, his friend and former Kentucky teammate.

The discussion about Towns isn’t about likelihood. There needs to be much more evidence of discord in Minnesota to believe the team would move Towns.

Marks believes discord exists and rightfully trusts the insight from Lowe and Windhorst. But these things tend to work themselves out, he says.

That’s because Towns is the most valuable player on that playoff team.

He also represents one of few players who check every box for the Suns on the trade market: immediate help in the form of an already-proven NBA player, who is under team control, youthful and a fit alongside Booker.

Towns remains on a rookie deal and, like Booker, is eligible for a max extension.

The dream-world in which the Suns do trade for Towns and do extend him would hamstring the team financially.

The discussion about what trade value would be worth giving up for Towns can go an array of directions and those financials are a big part of it, but the point remains: Towns is much, much more valuable than the No. 1 overall pick.

“When you look at him compared to where the No. 1 pick in the draft in the draft could be in Deandre Ayton, Karl is basically three or four years ahead of schedule based on where Deandre is coming in,” Marks said.

Which is why, unless there’s more evidence that the T-Wolves are a poorly-managed franchise willing to dump its best asset, Towns isn’t going to hit the trade market.

And if he does, McDonough has every right to at least consider dealing that pick.