We are down to the wire as only five days separate today from the Feb. 9 NBA trade deadline. The Minnesota Timberwolves — who have yet to move a piece on the chess board — have a looming contractual conundrum on their hands with Naz Reid.
Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports isolated Reid as a prime candidate among centers. He cites the financial decisions that the Timberwolves will have to make to substantiate their expressed interest in retaining the young center:
“The name to keep an eye on most may be Timberwolves center Naz Reid, who has declined varied contract extension offers from Minnesota, sources told Yahoo Sports, and is said to be seeking salary in the ballpark of $10 million next season,” Fischer said. “While the Wolves have clearly shown interest in retaining Reid, Minnesota already has a mountain of money committed to Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert, plus the Wolves seem unlikely to be able to afford both Reid and guard Jaylen Nowell at the price points each player desires.”
We recently broke down the dollars-and-cents situation regarding next season, including the less than $4 million of wiggle room that the franchise will have outside of what’s already on the books. Both Reid and guard Jaylen Nowell are forecasted to yield eight-figure annual salaries in the open market.
Reid, whose play has been more deserving of such compensation, has declined extension offers as Fischer pointed out. The four-year veteran idealistically envisions a potential starting role on a team with solid standing. Teams such as the Sacramento Kings, Portland Trail Blazers, Utah Jazz and Toronto Raptors all have need of a true center. The Philadelphia 76ers have recently expressed interest in Reid as insurance for the oft-banged-up Joel Embiid.
Among all true centers that come off the bench, Reid leads the league with 10.4 points per game in only 18 minutes a night. That excludes Christian Wood (Dallas Mavericks) and Bobby Portis (Milwaukee Bucks) — power forwards who slide into the five role by default when needed. His value is felt on and off of the stat sheet.
However, upon the return of Karl-Anthony Towns, Reid will be battling once again with the aforementioned and Rudy Gobert for time. But with that said, it is unreasonable to expect that Towns and Gobert will play every game once KAT returns, so having an insurance policy like Reid could be very important down the stretch of the season. The final days before the deadline will tell all regarding Reid’s outlook beyond this season, and correspondingly so, how the franchise responds. In most cases, players are only as loyal as their options.