With the way that the offseason has unfolded for the LA Clippers, they’re currently sitting with an open roster spot as they head towards the beginning of training camp in late September.
That open roster spot could come into play as the team currently only has one true center on the roster: the recently-signed-to-an-extension Ivica Zubac. The three-year deal for Zubac means the Clippers have their starting center position sewn up for the foreseeable future, but the backup spot remains free.
While we recently looked at some of the available backup center options on the free agent market, there remains another way the Clippers can fill that void: a trade. That’s where Naz Reid of the Minnesota Timberwolves could conceivably come into play.
Back in early July, the Timberwolves acquired multi-time All-NBA center Rudy Gobert from the Utah Jazz in a mega deal, pairing Gobert with Minnesota’s own multi-time All-NBA center, Karl-Anthony Towns.
The plan for Minnesota is to play the two together. But that could open up the possibility they might have to shop Reid on the open market considering the biggest factor of all: Reid is now extension-eligible.
According to HoopsHype’s Yossi Gozlan, Reid is eligible for up to a four-year, $58 million extension after the Timberwolves picked up Reid’s team option on June 29. Reid is slated to make $1.9 million this upcoming season, the final year of his original deal. It means he’s due to be an unrestricted free agent next offseason.
It was an interesting decision by the Timberwolves since they could have declined the team option and let Reid hit restricted free agency, thus allowing themselves to come to an agreement on a longer deal or just outright matching whatever deal another team gave him.
With Minnesota already on the hook for the remaining four-years and $170 million on Gobert’s deal, plus the six-years and $294 million they’ll owe Towns after he signed a supermax extension with the team while having two years left on his current deal, would the Timberwolves be comfortable shelling out more money to retain what will essentially be their third-string center?
That would appear to be the multi-million dollar question.
Reid turns 24 later in August, and he’s coming off a season in which he averaged 8.3 points and 3.9 rebounds in 15.8 minutes per game. Reid did start six games for Minnesota this past seaosn, averaging 15.5 points and 7.7 rebounds in those contests. For the season, Reid shot 34.3% on 2.2 3-point attempts per game.
At 6-foot-9, Reid isn’t a natural-sized center, but he is a floor-spacer that can be used in some creative ways due to his shooting ability and finishing around the rim. Reid also grades out well as a defender, and combined with his age, there could be some room for growth as an overall player.
This whole thing could come down to what Minnesota thinks is fair value for Reid’s services, as well as what the Clippers would determine is a fair price to pay to keep Reid entrenched as Zubac’s backup.
As mentioned earlier, Reid does make just $1.9 million this upcoming season which can be a slight problem when trying to piece together deals since it’s not a ton of money. However, it doesn’t make this an impossible task.
Would the Timberwolves be content with swapping Reid for either Brandon Boston Jr. or Jason Preston? If the Clippers deem that to be too much of a price, Los Angeles still is in possession of the trade exception they got from dealing Serge Ibaka this past February. The Clippers would have to toss in a couple seconds or even a protected 2028 first-round pick to make that particular deal possible.
Is that enough for Minnesota, though? There’s really no way of knowing. On the surface, the Timberwolves do seem to be painted into bit of a corner here because of the money they’re shelling out to Gobert and Towns, but it isn’t an impossibility to think they let this season play out with Reid and then wait to see what happens next offseason.
For the Clippers, it’s a swing that seems worth taking because of the positional value Reid provides alongside his age and skill set.
Reid would be a nice get for the Clippers, but the ball sits squarely in Minnesota’s court on this one and it’s hard to envision them making a decision at this moment. This does feel like something that’ll play itself out over the course of the season with a potential deal near the deadline taking place if the Timberwolves feel there’s no real reason to retain Reid in free agency when the 2023 offseason rolls around.
Still, this is a situation absolutely worth monitoring for the Clippers. They need a backup center, Reid is a young, good option, and the team does possess the assets to get something done for him while having an open roster spot to absorb him into.
Keep an eye on that situation in the Twin Cities.
Earlier installments of the “Trade Candidate Series” can be found below:
- Player #1: Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors)
- Player #2: Pascal Siakam (Toronto Raptors)
- Player #3: Harrison Barnes (Sacramento Kings)
- Player #4: Kyle Kuzma (Washington Wizards)
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