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Saunders says Minnesota’s deal for Pekovic doesn’t impact Rubio, Love

Aug 15, 2013, 11:02 AM EDT

Kevin Love AP

It took a while to figure it out, but the Timberwolves had re-sign Nikola Pekovic — the big man provides the traditional post presence at both ends of the court the team needs to allow Kevin Love to do his thing.

But the new five-year, $60 million deal leads to this question: Can the smaller market Timberwolves afford the coming extension for Ricky Rubio next summer then have the money for a new max deal for Love the season after that?

Minnesota decision maker Flip Saunders says not to worry.

See, nothing to worry about. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. Everything is just fine.

Rubio will sign an extension.

Saunders was brought in to repair the organization’s relationship with Love, which was not that great during the David Kahn era. So far so good on that, although what will really matter is how the team performs on the court the next couple seasons — does Love see them as a potential contender then or will the grass be greener somewhere else? If the relationship is not being repaired, Minnesota will be in a tough spot because they will not want to trade him.

But that’s down the line. If Minnesota’s key players can stay healthy this season, and with the addition of floor-spacing Kevin Martin, this is a potentially very good team. Certainly a playoff team, and when teams are winning a lot of other stuff seems to magically sort itself out.

  1. nelly3209 - Aug 15, 2013 at 11:08 AM

    Flip is the President of Basketball Operations and currently looking to hire a GM, his title is not GM

    • Kurt Helin - Aug 15, 2013 at 11:13 AM

      Technically correct, however the term GM is often used for the decision maker of a team no matter his title. Morey and Ainge have VP titles, but they are GMs in practice. Saunders is in that role right now.

    • sportsnut101 - Aug 15, 2013 at 12:51 PM

      What’s does president of basketball operations do They hire music talent for halftime lol please Sumone in nba explain

      Why can’t gm be same as that. It should be waste of money how I see it. All the small market teams are idiots for doing that hiring 2 people for 1 real job. So u pay flip 4 mil a yr a gm 2 mil a yr why it’s the same job

  2. jcmeyer10 - Aug 15, 2013 at 11:26 AM

    And that’s all that really matters. People can agree to disagree on whether teams overpay for big men but it would have been a truly stupid deal if it meant Love or Rubio getting shorted.

  3. gusf645 - Aug 15, 2013 at 11:58 AM

    Even IF Pek is getting overpaid, $12 million a year is a still a deal considering his peers. Roy Hibbert, Emeka Okafor, Brook Lopez and Mark Gasol are all paid between $14-$15 million a year. Pek has a comparable stat line to every one of those guys and is just as solid on defense.

  4. zxrated - Aug 15, 2013 at 12:00 PM

    How can it not affect Rubio and Love? Both will be up for new contracts in at least a year or two. Big three’s (financially) are a thing of the past in under this new CBA.

  5. legend30 - Aug 15, 2013 at 12:15 PM

    Kevin Love is leaving in 2015.

    • money2long - Aug 15, 2013 at 1:27 PM

      i think some other teams think love has a chance to bolt especially if wolves don’t go anywhere. and along with some other reasons teams didnt go after pekovic, is so they can leave the door open on a sign and trade for love if he does in fact request it. if they tried to swoop in and take pek from the wolves, that may hav reduced their chances in gettin minny to agree to a sign n trade for love with that team in the future because that team would hav soured something as they tried to ‘steal’ pek.

      i don’t think this is entirely possible of the thinking of some gm’s, but maybe it crossed some of their minds. eh.

    • therealhtj - Aug 15, 2013 at 2:14 PM

      Love sees this and prays the Lakers don’t blow all their cap space next summer.

  6. imakcds - Aug 15, 2013 at 12:35 PM

    I think it would have been a big mistake to let Pek go or have him sign a contract he’s not happy with: Don’t underestimate the importance of size, and Pek is a Man Mountain.

  7. nelly3209 - Aug 15, 2013 at 1:13 PM

    That is very true, but we have all seen that not using technical terms can get people in, and most notably, out of trouble haha

  8. bleedtwincitiessports - Aug 15, 2013 at 4:35 PM

    All this K. love leaving/ wanting to leave has been annoying for the last few years! I’ve always followed to wolves and IMO love is overrated… I like him but he’s not that STAR player he thinks he is. He is a good shooter, and rebounder, but I believe the reason he gets so many boards is because he always leaves a little early from the man he is defending to go grab the board! His defense is subpar, along with his Athleticism and he’s undersized. I’ll say it over and over, I like love but he is not who people think he is! Do I want him on the T’Wolves? Yes! But not as the franchise player, maybe 2nd or 3rd option! Hopefully Rubio can continue to get better (offensively) and become an Elite PG! Pek is overpaid now, but hopefully he can say health and warrant that huge contract!

    • crazylegs4 - Aug 15, 2013 at 10:27 PM

      I’m with you. The Pek signing, especially for 5 years is a reach and self destructive. Pat Riley would have found a positive way to take advantage of Pek’s perceived value and would have used Pek to acquire a veteran with leadership abilities like Pau Gasol or Lamarcus Aldridge.

      It doesn’t matter what title Flip is given. Wolves need to win now. If they win this year, it will be because someone on the roster overachieves and emerges. Like Derrick Williams. IMO it is more likely Flip has extended his role of managing losing teams. At 4 million a year, though, he will be able to put plenty of food on the table, but not a winning team on the floor.

      How disappointing! I wanted to root for the Wolves this year to challenge my team, the Miami Heat. This move assures that this won’t happen.

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