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MINNEAPOLIS — Naz Reid might well have found a bigger role had he hit the open market.

Staying in Minnesota just felt right. The Timberwolves had no interest in letting him leave, even with all that precious salary-cap space committed to their big men.

“I started my career here. I wanted to continue my career here. I’ve gotten better each and every year here as well, so it only made sense,” Reid said. “I didn’t want to go anywhere else.”

After eschewing unrestricted free agency for a three-year, $42 million contract with the Wolves last week, Reid participated in a news conference on Wednesday at the Southside Village Boys and Girls Club in Minneapolis, one of his favorite places to volunteer.

With almost $90 million — two-thirds of the $136 million salary cap — earmarked for three natural post players in 2023-24, Reid will start the season as a backup behind Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns as the Wolves hit the reset button on their against-the-grain experiment with playing the two big men in the same starting lineup.

Towns missed 52 games last season with a severe calf strain, so Reid was forced into heavier rotation after appearing to be an afterthought at the start. He averaged 11.5 points and shot 53.7% from the floor in 68 games in 2022-23, both career bests, and in four games when his playing time topped 30 minutes he averaged 27 points and 11 rebounds.

After he suffered a broken left wrist during the final week of the regular season, Reid was clearly missed in Minnesota’s first-round playoff series loss to eventual NBA champion Denver.

“Everybody has that feeling in a contract year: ‘What’s going to happen?'” said Reid, who was undrafted out of LSU in 2019. “I stuck to my roots. They believed in me, and I believed in the program as well. We came together and got the deal done.”

The Wolves put the final stamp on their earlier declaration they’re building their roster around All-Star shooting guard Anthony Edwards by giving him a $207 million maximum contract extension earlier this week. Because of cap and age, let alone production and fit, the Towns-Gobert pairing is unlikely to last anywhere near as long as the duration of Edwards’ new deal. That makes the 23-year-old Reid all the more attractive to keep around.

“I can’t tell you how many times throughout this process his teammates were calling and saying, ‘Let’s get Naz done.’ I’m telling them, ‘Let’s get Naz done,'” president of basketball operations Tim Connelly said.

The Timberwolves have also enhanced their depth by reaching agreements to retain restricted free agent shooting guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker and sign small forward Troy Brown Jr. and shooting guard Shake Milton, but locking up Reid set the tone for the summer.

“Naz has such a versatile game. His skill, it opens up just so much lineup flexibility with our team, whether he backs up at the 4 or backs up at the 5,” coach Chris Finch said. “Heck, we might even try to play them all three together, just because there’s so much skill there — and the size.”

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Wolves’ Naz Reid on returning — ‘Didn’t want to go anywhere else’