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Nikola Pekovic will miss EuroBasket while waiting on new NBA contract

Aug 6, 2013, 12:12 PM EDT

Nikola Pekovic, Brandon Bass AP

Nikola Pekovic will not be competing for Montenegro in next month’s EuroBasket championships. The Minnesota Timberwolves’ center was expected to be an important part of his team’s attempt to qualify for next year’s FIBA Championships and eventually the 2016 Olympics, but his contract situation with the NBA will prevent that from happening this year.

Pekovic is currently a restricted free agent, but his management and the Wolves haven’t been able to come to terms on what will reportedly be a four-year extension worth between $12 and $15 million  per year. Because of the ongoing negotiations, Pekovic’s representatives have apparently recommended he doesn’t participate in the upcoming FIBA tournament in order for him to stay injury-free, according to a report on the official website of the Basketball Federation of Montenegro.

The club apparently put an August 5th deadline on Pekovic reporting for duty in order for him to get into shape and in sync with his teammates prior to the early-September start of the FIBA Europe Championship tournament. That deadline came and went without a new NBA deal for the 27-year-old center, however, so the team’s officially decided to move on with the roster they already have assembled.

The Montenegrin team’s only other NBA player is fellow big man Nikola Vucevic of the Orlando Magic and he’s expected to play, but the squad will definitely feel the absence of Pekovic as he works on figuring out his NBA contract. They’re grouped with Germany, Italy and Croatia in the first round of pool play, meaning they could be facing the Knicks’ Andrea Bargnani and new Detroit Pistons signee Luigi Datome along with possible future NBAers Bojan Bogdanovic, Mario Hezonja and Dario Saric. That isn’t exactly a murderer’s row of European players, but it certainly wouldn’t have hurt to have Pekovic available to protect the paint against them.

The fact that Pekovic’s missing the EuroBasket tournament, by the way, likely means that he and the Wolves aren’t as close to getting a deal done as some have reported. Because, if that were the case, it’d seem something could’ve been done to make sure he was available to represent his country in their bid to qualify for the next Olympics.

  1. kujo37daggs - Aug 6, 2013 at 12:27 PM

    There is not a single team who will pay Pek that kind of money, he must have reading all those internet articles about his size and let them get to his head.

  2. moseskkim - Aug 6, 2013 at 1:11 PM

    It’s crazy how he’s demanding 15 mil a year. Looks like he’s gonna get 4/50 mil. Not too bad but 12.5 mil a year really speaks to the lack of quality big men in the league.

  3. trudybeekman - Aug 6, 2013 at 1:16 PM

    ESPN 1500 reported that Pek may be using the contract to avoid EuroBasket, which would make the 15m demand (which appears outrageous) a simple out to avoid the tourney. This would also explain why the Timberwolves don’t appear too concerned and Pek hasn’t said anything to anyone anywhere, including in Europe.

  4. crazylegs4 - Aug 6, 2013 at 7:36 PM

    Timberwolves should do a sign and trade with Lakers, Pet for Pau and trade exception. Lakers have their center for the future, Wolves contend for NBA title and gain veteran presence to lead their young team. 50 mil for Pet?Not out of my pocket. Lakers have tried to trade Pau for a couple of years. Wolves would be well served by accomodating them. Real well served!

    • crazylegs4 - Aug 15, 2013 at 9:56 PM

      I was at the game when Willis Reed limped on the floor of Madison Square Garden in 1970 to inspire the New York Knicks to a comfortable win over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 7, leading the Knicks to their 1st NBA Championship.The Lakers that year had Wilt, Jerry West, Elgin Bayor, Rudy Larusso among others.
      Pek is no Wilis Reed. NOT EVEN CLOSE! Pek is more like a journeyman, who potentially gets injured every year and ties up cap money that should go to a LEADER.

      The Wolves signing Pek, for 5 years no less, just destroyed the chances of the Wolves becoming a team contending team. If I am right Love to LA is a done deal as of tonight.

      Flip was a far more viable NBA administrator years ago. With this move, Flip continues down the road of irrele

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