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Differences over dollars still keeping the Timberwolves from signing Nikola Pekovic

Aug 4, 2013, 2:00 PM EDT

Nikola Pekovic AP

The Timberwolves and Nikola Pekovic have been expected to come to a contract agreement for some time.

But the longer the sides continue to negotiate, there seems to at least be a possibility that the relationship could sour.

We broke down the many reasons for the delay a couple of weeks back, but it seems now that it’s come down to a simple matter of dollars.

From Darren Wolfson of

(via HoopsHype):

[Team president Flip Saunders] was in New York City earlier in the week to meet with [Pekovic’s agent Jeff Schwartz]. Word is it was cordial gathering. But one central issue remains, according to sources: money. The Wolves are offering Pekovic a four-year, $48 million extension. Schwartz wants more. In fact, at least initially, a lot more. One league source said his opening asking price was in the vicinity of $15 million/year.

The possibility of a five-year agreement exists (point guard Ricky Rubio would still be eligible for a five-year extension because Pekovic is not on the rookie scale). But the main focus has been on four-years. The Wolves are willing to add some incentive sweeteners — think games played with Pekovic’s injury history. But the idea that they’ll budge from the guaranteed portion — $12 million/year — is nearly ludicrous.

Here’s where it gets interesting: Pekovic’s agent not only represents Kevin Love, who can opt out of his deal to become an unrestricted free agent in 2015. But he also represents Brandon Jennings, who was in a standoff similar to that of Pekovic with the Milwaukee Bucks.

Pekovic is a restricted free agent the same as Jennings was, and when the dollars being offered by the Bucks weren’t what Jennings was expecting, the team chose to trade him rather than caving to his demands, or letting him play out one more season under the qualifying offer before bolting next summer.

There’s no sign that a similar situation is brewing in Minnesota with Pekovic — at least not yet. Considering his history of injury, one would think that this deal would get done at some point in order for him to lock up a multi-year, guaranteed deal before the season begins.

  1. drago2012 - Aug 4, 2013 at 3:56 PM

    Nikola , would sure look good in Bulls uniform, He so big and strong, he can mop up the painted area with opposing players who are trying to post up. He can make great screens for Rose, almost cloaking Rose, where defenders will be not just one step behind, but two to three steps. We all know Rose just needs 1/2 step on anybody in the NBA to be at the basket with a floater or a dunk. If he misses, then Nikola would just have 20 points in put backs every night. This is the guy that can average double double every knight without a single play being run toward him!!!! This guy is so big he takes up the entire painted area by himself.

    • ProBasketballPundit - Aug 4, 2013 at 7:50 PM

      Doesn’t the Bulls already have a pretty decent center? A certain somebody who won a game 7 for them recently despite his plantar fasciitis…

    • lucaslatronico - Aug 5, 2013 at 3:10 PM

      Your comment was just disrespectful to Joakim!

  2. kingwithringz - Aug 4, 2013 at 5:32 PM

    @ drago2012 so ur saying Rose will be 0/10 if Pek will have 20 points from putbacks everynight? Go watched college basketball.

  3. biasedhomer - Aug 4, 2013 at 5:49 PM

    He probably should go to the Nets, since their owner gives money under the table.

  4. thomaskouns - Aug 4, 2013 at 6:49 PM

    Hard to tell how good some players are when they’re on bad teams.

  5. bleedtwincitiessports - Aug 4, 2013 at 7:01 PM

    15 mil/year is Absurd… Pek, sign that 4yr/48mil deal and be happy! I like pek, but feel like somehow he’ll let the wolves down with that contract! Injuries seem to nag him through out the season and he’s not the best defender, but I love his toughness! Go T’Wolves!

  6. monkeyhateclean - Aug 5, 2013 at 12:42 AM

    I suspect Pek’s agent might be the complicating factor here. He also reps Love, and Love didn’t get the max deal he thought was deserved.

    Pek has said he likes it in Minny, but if he takes the deal, the impression that this agent can’t get his clients top money will be further cemented.

    The problem is: no other teams will offer nearly what Minny has, and if opts out on the 1 year $6 mill deal, he’s throwing away tens of millions that may not be there next year, when he’ll be a small fish in a huge FA pond.

  7. jimathai - Aug 5, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    Pek is a rare commodity… I would love to have him on the Wiz… He posts up relentlessly and he can shoot free throws at a high clip… rare for a man his size. Also he knows how to use his size. Minnesota doesn’t want to lose him. he gets 20/10 with ease.

    • spursareold - Aug 5, 2013 at 1:02 PM

      More like 16/9 with ease.

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