For about a week and a half, we’ve been waiting on a team to make a big offer to Nikola Pekovic and for the Wolves to have to make a decision on just how much they love the big man.
Would he get a crazy max contract offer from someone like the Portland Trail Blazers or Cleveland Cavaliers in an attempt to put the Wolves in a precarious decision of having to overextend their cap situation to match the offer sheet? What would the market for Pek be? Was there a threshold for their confidence in spending for his services? Would the go over $10 million annually? When would the restricted free agency dance commence and conclude?
After 10 days of very little chatter about Pekovic, as the Dwight Howard domino has fallen and the Andrew Bynum rumors are starting to swell, it looks like the Timberwolves are ready to end this dance, in what can be viewed as both a savvy and risky move. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, the Wolves and Pek are about to agree on a four-year, $50 million contract extension for the Monster from Montenegro.
Minnesota, Nikola Pekovic getting closer on a four-year, $50 million contract extension, league sources tell Y! Sports.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 10, 2013
The savvy part of this move by the Wolves to circumvent the process of waiting for the market to be set by a potential suitor is they have 1) gone out and showed Pekovic and his agent a certain level of respect when it comes to setting the market for the big man and 2) if the Cavs get dismissed by Andrew Bynum and he goes to the Mavericks, there is no “ah screw this, let’s just offer a near max deal to Pekovic and see if the Wolves are too chicken to match it” possibility.
We saw Brook Lopez get a max deal from the Brooklyn Nets last summer after the threat of losing him to an offer sheet by the Charlotte Bobcats meant their 1% chance of being able to trade for Dwight Howard would have gone to 0%. We saw the Indiana Pacers pony up a max deal to Roy Hibbert with the Portland Trail Blazers attempting to get the All-Star center on their side of the arena. At a certain point, some team could throw a contract at the wall for Pekovic and see if it sticks. The Wolves decided to circumvent that potential problem by working out a deal and setting the market price for Pek.
I’m fairly on the record about keeping Pek on this team, pretty much at all costs. For me, I think this move was necessary and I think grabbing him around $12 million per season over the next four years, which takes him to age 31, is a pretty great deal for such a unique mixture of strength in the post and on the boards with a solid stroke at the free throw line. This is a big part of the core for the Wolves that is supposed to bring this franchise back into the playoffs. Whether that works or not, I’m happy the big fella is about to re-sign with this team at a fair market price.