With the way the offseason has gone for the LA Clippers, they’re currently sitting with an open spot on the roster as they head into training camp at the end of September.
That spot on the open roster could come into play as the team currently only have one true center on the roster: the recently signed for extension Ivica Zubac. The three-year deal for Zubac means the Clippers have their starting center position stitched up for the foreseeable future, but the backup spot remains open.
While we recently looked at some of the backstop options available in the free agent market, there is still another way the Clippers can fill that void: a trade. This is where Naz Reid of the Minnesota Timberwolves could possibly come in.
In early July, the Timberwolves acquired All-NBA multi-time center Rudy Gobert from the Utah Jazz in a mega deal, pairing Gobert with Minnesota’s own All-NBA multi-time center Karl-Anthony Towns.
The plan for Minnesota is to play the two together. But it could open up the possibility of them having to buy Reid on the open market considering the most important factor of all: Reid is now eligible for the extension.
According to HoopsHype’s Yossi Gozlan, Reid is eligible for a four-year, $58 million extension after the Timberwolves picked up Reid’s team option on June 29. Reid is expected to earn $1.9 million this season, the final year of his original contract. . That means he should be an unrestricted free agent next offseason.
It was an interesting move on the part of the Timberwolves, as they could have declined the team option and let Reid hit restricted free agency, allowing themselves to come to an agreement on a longer deal or just match up. the deal another team had given 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 will owe Towns after signing a supermax extension with the team then that he has two years left on his current contract. , would the Timberwolves be comfortable shelling out more money to retain what will essentially be their third-string center?
That seems to be the multi-million dollar question.
Reid turns 24 later in August, and is coming off a season in which he averaged 8.3 points and 3.9 rebounds in 15.8 minutes per game. Reid started six games for Minnesota last season, averaging 15.5 points and 7.7 rebounds in those contests. For the season, Reid shot 34.3 percent on 2.2 3-point attempts per game.
At 6-foot-9, Reid isn’t a natural-sized center, but he’s a ground spacer who can be used creatively due to his shooting ability and finishing around the edge. Reid ranks well as a defender as well, and combined with his age, there could be some room for growth as an overall player.
It could all come down to what Minnesota thinks is the fair value of Reid’s services, as well as what the Clippers would determine is a fair price to pay to keep Reid cut as Zubac’s replacement.
As mentioned earlier, Reid is only making $1.9 million this coming season, which might be a slight issue when trying to piece together deals, as that’s not a ton of money. However, that does not make it an impossible task.
Would the Timberwolves just trade Reid for Brandon Boston Jr. or Jason Preston? If the Clippers deem it too expensive, Los Angeles is still in possession of the trade exception they obtained by dealing Serge Ibaka last February. The Clippers would have to pitch in seconds or even a protected first-round pick in 2028 to make this particular deal possible.
Is that enough for Minnesota, though? There’s really no way to know. On the surface, the Timberwolves appear to be painted into a corner here because of the money they’re shelling out to Gobert and Towns, but it’s not impossible to think they let this season play out with Reid and then wait. to see what will happen in the next offseason.
For the Clippers, it’s a swing worth taking because of the positional value Reid provides in addition to his age and skill set.
Reid would be a good chance for the Clippers, but the ball is squarely in Minnesota’s court on this one and it’s hard to imagine them making a call right now. It looks like something that will play out over the course of the season with a potential deal nearing the deadline if the Timberwolves feel there’s no real reason to keep Reid in free agency when the 2023 offseason rolls around.
Still, it’s a situation absolutely worth watching for the Clippers. They need a backup center, Reid is a young and good option, and the team has the assets to do something for him while having an open place in the roster to absorb him.
Keep an eye on this situation in the Twin Cities.
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