Timberwolves and Pekovic agree on principle

Benjamin Polk —  August 14, 2013 — 5 Comments

From the Wolves:

The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced the team has reached an agreement in principle on a contract with restricted free-agent center Nikola Pekovic. Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not ¬†disclosed. ‘Retaining Pek was our No. 1 priority this offseason and we’re very excited that he’s chosen to continue his career in Minnesota,’ said Wolves President of Basketball Operations Flip Saunders.
Meanwhile, Marc Stein is reporting at ESPN that the contract is a five-year deal, worth $60 million “and potentially up to an additional $8 million in incentive-related bonuses.”
The deal was clinched, sources say, when Minnesota offered a fifth year. Initial indications are that neither side possesses an option in the new contract, making it a straight-up deal for the next five seasons for the 27-year-old.
Now, it’s hard to speak definitively until we know for certain about the option status of that fifth year and about the details of those incentives. But if the deal really is as Stein says it is, another fully guaranteed year and extra incentives strikes me as too great a concession on the Wolves part to a player who, remember, had no meaningful bargaining leverage. (Although we can certainly speculate on the effect of Kevin Love’s looming free-agency–and the fact that Pekovic’s agent, Jeff Schwartz, also represents Love–on the negotiations). The cumulative effect of those little things–the extra year here and there, those extra few million–can be disastrous down the road for small-market teams under this Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Benjamin Polk

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5 responses to Timberwolves and Pekovic agree on principle

  1. Wow, in all of our disagreement over this issue no one ever mentioned a 5th year. I did not think the wolves would ever put it on the table. If I understand it right this will still not take the 5 year option off the table for Rubio since Pek was not on a rookie contract.

  2. Not a fan of the 5th year at all. That is too much guaranteed money for a guy who struggles to stay on the court for a chunk of every season. Also with the fact that he had no bargaining leverage it is a little troublesome. Flip is just handing out bigger Kahntracts. We traded a guy who couldn’t judge talent for a guy who just overpays it. Hard to see how we are that much better off long-term if we are going to keep handing out deals like Flip has in the future.

  3. I’m not going to fault Pek for games in his 1st 2 seasons where he was active but the coach didn’t put him in. He has injury issues that made me think less of him, but they’re overstated.

    I’m much more concerned about giving above-minimum deals to guys who aren’t better than league average (Darko, Hollins, Sessions) or overpaying ones who are redundant (Barea, Webster) or drafting poorly Muhammad?, Johnson, Flynn) than with paying market rates for competent players who fill a need. All the guys in their rotation have been or could be rotation guys for a playoff team. Compare that to starting guys who can’t crack any other team’s rotation, which happened often a few years ago.

  4. GJK, I couldn’t agree more. He came in at the price the Wolves wanted to pay him, but it cost them an extra year, But you’re right we’re talking about a guy who is a starter on nearly every other team in the league with the exception of a very few who have already established the position. And they can still sign Rubio and keep the team together. IMO one of the reasons the Spurs have been so successful is they establish a core and then kept that core together for years. If you’re going to emulate a franchise that’s the one you want to look at.

    I am looking forward to the season.

  5. My left brain doesn’t like it, my right brain is like “let’s see what this team can do”. Gotta side with my right brain, why should I worry about what Pek is doing in five years? I don’t know what I’ll be doing in five years.

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