Do Timberwolves face a Towns/Gobert/Reid dilemma this season?

Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports /

The perception right now is that the Minnesota Timberwolves face a difficult decision this off-season. That decision is whether or not the Timberwolves, having pushed hard to re-sign center Naz Reid to an extension this off-season. will have the resolve to play the entire 2023-24 NBA season with so many dollars invested in the center position.

After all, Naz Reid has been a backup center who has elevated his game this season and is determined to become an NBA starter in the 2023-24 NBA season. He wants to play, and he was determined to ensure more playing time with his next contract. But perhaps the matter is a bit more complicated.  Is there more to this matter than all of that?

Reid is a young and rapidly improving NBA center who wants to be paid and wants to have the opportunity to start in the NBA. Somehow, the Minnesota Timberwolves have convinced him to return to the Timberwolves roster. While I believe that was the right move for the young man, you have to wonder what exactly was negotiated beyond salary.

Compare KAT and Naz

While Karl-Anthony Towns has been the veteran who has born the yolk of success for the Minnesota Timberwolves in recent years, the Timberwolves’ roster is clearly starting to catch up to him. Not so much in terms of All-Star performances, but in terms of the day-to-day grind?

Compare how similar KATs and Reids production appeared from the 2022-23 NBA season:

That all by itself proves why it was wise for the Minnesota Timberwolves to resign Naz Reid this season.

Naz Reid has been quietly assembling his cast of supporters, and not from a charitable endorsement either. His talent on the basketball court has developed to the point where he is more than a backup. Whether he is starting or coming off the bench, he has grown to a point where he is truly able to alter the momentum of the game. And he is getting noticed as well:

The King has crowned Naz Reid. And the Minnesota Timberwolves have clearly gone to bat for the young man, opting to re-sign the young man to a new contract rather than let him walk and face the likelihood of playing against him in the 2023-24 NBA season.

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While it does NOT mean that the Timberwolves are more likely to trade Karl-Anthony Towns, it does give the Timberwolves a much better position in the future to do so. Depending on how the season, and the NBA salary cap projections, play out, that could make a huge difference in how the Timberwolves face the 2023-24 NBA season. More importantly, it could be the pivotal factor in how the Timberwolves address the 2024 NBA Trade Deadline.