While the Minnesota Timberwolves had reaffirmed their interest in extending young center Naz Reid and may have the means to do so by offloading the hefty remaining contract for point guard D’Angelo Russell, that is not a guarantee that an extension happens. Like Jaylen Nowell, Naz Reid is in the fourth and final year of his NBA rookie contract. While his best season occurred in 2020-21, he is putting up compelling numbers this season that will almost certainly attract plenty of NBA teams interested in signing a center to their roster.
The trick is, will any team offer him a starting role? That is the big question.
Clearly, that is something that the Minnesota Timberwolves cannot offer, and that poses a possible impasse for the Timberwolves’ hopes to extend their young center. Of course, the Timberwolves hold Reid’s Bird Rights, and that could play a role in any future contract he signs.
Flip a coin
This season, Reid has appeared in 53 of 61 games and started in 10 of those contests. This season, he is averaging 17.7 minutes, 10.2 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 1.0 assists. While the team has a promising center named Luka Garza waiting in the wings, Reid’s proven to be a solid backup center who, due to injuries on the Timberwolves roster, can step up and start on short notice.
The Timberwolves would love to re-sign both Naz Reid and Jaylen Nowell. They are at the right timeline in their careers to grow alongside both Anthony Edwards and Jaden McDaniels and could prove to become competent NBA starters in their careers. While the team may be able to meet or at least come close to Naz Reid’s salary expectations, I balk at projecting the Timberwolves’ ability to offer him the right type of role or even playing time assurances. Much of his opportunity has come in the wake of Karl-Anthony Towns’ prolonged injury.
The Timberwolves want to extend Naz Reid. But can they, particularly if he has already made up his mind that he wants a larger role, and perhaps a starting role, in the NBA in 2023-24? Flip a coin on this one.
The Timberwolves may not be at the pinnacle of the NBA, but they are pushing hard for a second consecutive NBA Playoff appearance. But that brings with it a new set of challenges. Can the team hold together a competitive roster? Well, we believe five players may not be back with the team next season. And some may not be players the Timberwolves can afford to lose.