I- Naz Reid
If there is a more well-suited player on the Minnesota Timberwolves roster who could step up in the wake of Karl-Anthony Towns, I truly do not know who that might be. The Minnesota Timberwolves are blessed with players who, for the most part, love to put in the work to grind out that slow and steady path to excellence. And backup center/power forward Naz Reid is a qualified tour guide on that trek.
Naz Reid. In the end, the answer to the Minnesota Timberwolves’ strategy this season could come down to Naz Reid.
When the Minnesota Timberwolves 2022-23 NBA season ended, the litmus test for this team’s intentions in my clue book was how the team handled the inevitable free agency of backup center/power forward Naz Reid. If the team allowed Reid to test his fair market value in the 2023 NBA Free Agency market, then that translated into the Timberwolves being dead set on keeping veteran Karl-Anthony Towns around for the foreseeable future.
If the Timberwolves locked into a negotiation to bring Reid back that carried over into the NBA Free Agency market, then that meant that the team was trying to squeeze everyone in under the 2023 and projected 2024 NBA salary caps. But neither scenario played out.
Timberwolves made it clear that Naz Reid is key to the future
The scenario that did play out for the Minnesota Timberwolves is the one where Naz Reid never made it as far as the NBA Free Agency market. Instead, the Timberwolves extended him before his contract expired.
So how did the team resolve Naz Reid’s passionate insistence on a larger role with the team going forward? Well, the clue seems to point to the fact that the team foresees a scenario where Naz Reid’s role will grow within the Timberwolves roster organically. Of course, that means next to nothing at this point in time, and I willingly concede that matter. But of the three options, the one extension scenario that is optimal for the Timberwolves to give serious consideration to trading Karl-Anthony Towns at the 2024 NBA Trade Deadline involves signing Reid back quickly to a multi-year extension. So who did the Timberwolves extend quickly?
Of course, even after a diminished season, the Minnesota Timberwolves could and should command a pretty pricey return for NBA All-Star center/power forward Karl-Anthony Towns if trading him away truly becomes an option.
But if the Timberwolves front office opts to embrace that strategy, it’s comforting to know that the team is quite capable of absorbing his vacated role in the lineup with no need to depend on any trade package to do so.