Update On The Nikola Pekovic Situation In Minnesota
The Minnesota Timberwolves have offered restricted free agent center Nikola Pekovic a 4 year, $50M contract extension. With no teams making him any better offers, many are wondering why Nikola Pekovic hasn’t already agreed to re-sign with the Timberwolves with such a big contract offer on the table. Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star Tribune has put forth an interesting explanation for why an agreement between Pekovic and the Timberwolves hasn’t happened yet:
The Wolves theoretically could offer Pek a five-year deal to give him extra security, but it doesn’t sound like the concept has been discussed, probably for a couple reasons: Pek is prone to nagging injuries so the Wolves likely wouldn’t want to commit an extra year, but this is also interesting: Schwartz, as I mentioned, also reps Love, who still is bitter about not getting the five-year “designated player” contract offer two winters ago.
How would Schwartz explain to Love that he couldn’t get him a five-year deal while getting Pekovic one?
Tricky position for him to be in.
Schwartz also probably is feeling pressure to deliver big for his client for a couple reasons: Pekovic was expected to be a hot commodity on the free-agent market even though he is a restricted free agent but that big offer never come. Schwartz is in the same position with new client Brandon Jennings, who appears to be the biggest loser in this year’s free agency.
In other words, it sounds like Pek’s agent is hoping for a better deal to come along and that he can keep all of his other clients happy as well. It certainly is an interesting theory put forth by Zgoda that I certainly think could very well explain why Pekovic hasn’t yet signed with the Timberwolves. But the key word in all this is “yet”, because at the end of the day it does seem to be highly likely that Pekovic does return to the Timberwolves next season and in the process have a long-term deal with the team secured. In a recent interview on NBA TV, Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor said (as transcribed by the Minneapolis Star Tribune):
“My sense is, I think we both know he’s going to be playing for our team next year,” Taylor said. “I think we’re just dealing with an element time of here. I would tell you I’m very positive that he’ll play for our team. What we have left isn’t something that can’t be resolved. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of pressure on us or him to get it done. A meet has been set up in the future.
“I’m confident it’ll get done. I’ve been through so many of things. You say, `It’s just money, Glen.’ I think we’ll get it done. He’s an important part of our team. He wants to be back and we want him here.”
While Taylor is highly confident about Pekovic re-upping with the team, the longer this drags out, the more drama there is going to be in Minneapolis, and the more likely it is that Pekovic finds work elsewhere. Many people who follow the Timberwolves believe re-signing Nikola Pekovic is the most important move the Timberwolves can make this offseason, even with the addition Kevin Martin. With that in mind, it sounds like Taylor better be a bit more urgent about getting Pek signed, since if they don’t get him re-signed, his departure would be a pretty big punch to the gut of the organization.
—Ben Parker: follow me on twitter @nba_lord