Earlier this season Lakers forward LeBron James tweeted about how much he liked Naz Reid's game, even if he misspelled the Timberwolves center's first name as "Naiz."

A few weeks later, Suns coach Monty Williams said Reid was "probably a starter in this league on some teams, if not most," given his skill set.

Then this week, the always-candid TNT analyst Charles Barkley included Reid as one of the few players he liked on the Wolves roster, along with Anthony Edwards and Mike Conley.

The biggest question mark the Wolves have in free agency this offseason is whether Reid, who is an unrestricted free agent, will come back.

President Tim Connelly and coach Chris Finch both said Reid was an important part of the team's plans, and Connelly wants to get a new deal done with Reid. Reid averaged a career-high 11.5 points and shot a career-best 54% this season.

"I think we're going to be an organization that's going to reward guys that do right by the organization," Connelly said. "He came here, he got himself in better shape, he's gotten better each and every year, and we're fingers crossed that he's going to be here for a long, long time. … We've been working pretty hard to try to figure out something long-term for Naz."

But the situation is complicated, and the Wolves have advantages and disadvantages entering free agency.

The Wolves aren't in a position to offer Reid a starting job. If Reid's true desire is to be a starter in the NBA next season, he is likely to be able to find a team that would make that happen, at least if Williams is correct. Reid will still be behind Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert in the pecking order. This season, Reid played sparingly or sometimes not at all before Towns went out because of a right calf injury.

But Finch pointed to the last segment of games Reid played late in the season as a blueprint for how the team would use him moving forward. Reid played alongside both Towns and Gobert and averaged 21.7 minutes per game after Towns returned from injury. During this stretch, Reid was playing some of the best basketball of his career in averaging 18.1 points and 4.9 rebounds per game before he broke his left wrist against Phoenix on March 29.

"He's a guy that we see definitely as a high priority," Finch said. "He's proven himself in a lot of different capacities this year. He just succeeded in every role."

The Wolves might have the ultimate carrot in their favor when it comes to Reid — money. There aren't a lot of teams with salary-cap space around the league, which means most teams who have interest in Reid would be likely to have to use their midlevel exception to sign him.

Teams above the cap can't sign outside free agents without signing players to minimum deals or using one of the few contract exceptions available to them, the highest-priced of those being the midlevel exception.

Last season the midlevel exception for teams above the salary cap but below the luxury tax was about $10.5 million, and that is likely to climb between $11 million and $12 million this offseason.

But since Reid is the Wolves' own free agent, they retain his "Bird Rights," and they can re-sign him for any amount. This means the Wolves could outbid teams that might want Reid but can only offer up to the full amount of the midlevel exception.

Reid always has craved more opportunity, and that chance may come. It may all depend on how much he values that over potentially making more money in Minnesota.

Among other Wolves free agents, guard Jaylen Nowell isn't likely to be back, as he also seeks opportunities elsewhere.

Nowell and Reid weren't among the players who addressed the media at the Wolves' exit interviews Thursday. Reid's good friend Jaden McDaniels did. McDaniels said he'd like to continue playing with Reid but added a caveat.

"Business is business," McDaniels said. "Whatever happens with his signing, I hope for the best for him. I just hope he's still in our jersey."