Archives For NBA Free Agency

Art by Steve McPherson

Art by Steve McPherson

The Wolves have come to an agreement with restricted free agent Nikola Pekovic on a five-year deal worth a reported $60 million.

After a long and seemingly uneventful negotiating process in which the Wolves initially waited for the market to be set by an outside suitor with an offer sheet, they finally set the market themselves by offering a reported four-year, $50 million deal which Jeff Schwartz, Pek’s agent, apparently said was no good. He secured a longer contract for his client while taking less on a per season scale with the hopes that the incentives included in the deal will push Pek’s earnings beyond the $12.5 million from the Wolves reported initial offer. It’s a gamble, but it’s also a smart one. We’ll get into that in a bit.

I think most of us are glad the Wolves retained Pek because the alternative didn’t seem great. There wasn’t much of a Plan B in terms of what to do if Pek left because I don’t really believe that was ever going to happen. They couldn’t be forced into a sign-and-trade. They couldn’t lose him if they didn’t want to. Even Pek keeping the qualifying offer and playing out next season meant the Wolves still had him and his Bird rights. It was just a matter of how much and how long.

There are concerns about the length of the deal and what it means for the Wolves moving forward. Let’s get into the things said by Flip Saunders yesterday and the realities of the deal itself.  Continue Reading…

Pek Meat

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.  Continue Reading…

PekHook

After a night of next to zero sleep (not Wolves related, just your basic insomnia), I was in a zombionic haze all day long. Because of this, I never got around to writing a recap of the Wolves’ loss to the Thunder from Wednesday night. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to write about it; I just didn’t really know what to say about it.

The Wolves are incredibly short-handed, especially with Barea missing the game. Having three guards, one of them on a minutes restriction due to ACL rehabilitation, is not an ideal situation for facing Russell Westbrook. Throw in the fact that Kevin Love isn’t around and the Wolves are almost out of shooting guards, and you could see the writing on the wall before this game even started. And that’s fine. You can’t expect to have a Disney moment every time this season. The Thunder are just too good to topple consistently. They aren’t going to let that Wizards game happen often.

While trying to come up with something to write, I looked at a pen I recently got and couldn’t help but think about Nikola Pekovic. Continue Reading…

LoveTeaPot

Kevin Love has once again voiced his lack of trust in the Wolves’ front office and once again, it’s eliciting the same reactions.

Here are a few snippets from Adrian Wojnarowski’s latest column, this time on Kevin and his uncertainty about his future in Minnesota:  Continue Reading…

Love

946.

That’s how many days we have until Kevin Love has the option to exercise his early termination clause for the summer of 2015.

$9,701,000.

That’s how much money the Los Angeles Lakers have committed to their 2015-16 payroll right now. Kobe Bryant is off the books by the summer of 2015. So are Dwight Howard, Ron Artest, and Pau Gasol. Even if Dwight Howard re-signs with the Lakers, they’ll still have close to $30 million to throw at free agents. It’s assumed Kobe Bryant will be retired by then, therefore he will have no cap hold with the Lakers’ payroll. And even if he does, the Lakers will have plenty of flexibility to make a sign-and-trade happen. We’ve seen them do it before. We’ll see them do it again.

If Kevin Love wants to return to Los Angeles to play basketball, he can do it quite easily.

So how does that make you feel? It probably makes the majority of us Timberwolves fans feel like this:  Continue Reading…

DSC_0031

Kevin Love showed off his gold medal today during a press conference at the Target Center. He broached many topics from what the experience meant to him this summer to how he feels about the team heading into this year, Pekovic’s new look, and his nerves for throwing out the first pitch of the Yankees-Twins game at Target Field Wednesday night.

As per usual with Kevin, he was incredibly candid and had no problems expressing his thoughts on the subjects he was asked about. Here is my transcription of today’s presser and discussion afterwards along with some photos from myself and Steve McPherson (guess which ones are taken with his nice camera and which ones are taken with my iPhone):  Continue Reading…

35 minutes per game, huh?

Brandon Roy mentioned his goal was to become a 35-minute per game player and Twitter seemingly exploded with incredulity. Personally, I didn’t get what the reaction was because it seemed like he was pretty clear in how he shaded the situation:

“I think, even before I had any knee problems in the NBA, me and coach would always sit down and talk about minutes. It’s a long season and you want guys to be fresher down the stretch. I’m sure it’s something that me and coach will talk about. My goal is, yeah, I would still love to be around that 35 minute mark. Really, whatever the team needs. I don’t want those situations where coach has to say, ‘We’re in a tough game but you’re at your minute limit.’ That was something I had to deal with in my last season in Portland. That was really hard. Physically I feel good. I want to play as much as possible but at the same time be smart because it’s a long season and we want to be at our best down the stretch.”

Sometimes people hear numbers given as goals and latch onto those numbers. We’ve become less about comprehending the context of what someone says and would much rather misquote them. Maybe it all stemmed from Charles Barkley being misquoted in his autobiography, maybe it’s the product of an ever deteriorating education system in this country, or maybe people were always like this and it’s just more prevalent now because we have much more communication on a global scale. Whatever the reasoning is, we often freak out over things out of context.  Continue Reading…

OKAY!

A lot has happened over the couple days and now we’re getting a better idea of the way this roster could look heading into next season. After missing out on Nicolas Batum (when evil Paul Allen wouldn’t let him go despite Neil Olshey wanting to let him go or at least work out a sign-and-trade), the Wolves were left with a plan B. Only nobody really seemed to know what the plan B was. The team missed out on Courtney Lee because… well… let’s just say negotiating issues, and it left the team without many options.

So here are the four transactions that have gone/will go down:

1. Greg Stiemsma signs with the team.
2. Wayne Ellington is dealt to the Grizzlies for Dante Cunningham.
3. Wes Johnson and a 1st round pick are part of a 3-team deal that brings back Brad Miller’s contract (CJZero corrected me that he’s going to Phoenix), Jerome Dyson, and a couple of picks.
4. The Wolves sign Andrei Kirilenko for two years and roughly $20 million.

Let’s look at these in order of importance:  Continue Reading…

The dream is over. Batum’s offer sheet will be matched by the Blazers and the Wolves now have to figure out what Plan B is for this team’s offseason.

We’ll miss you, Nic.

It’s officially official that Darko Milicic is no longer a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The team used it’s one time amnesty provision during the life of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement to rid themselves of his cap number and roster space so they could have the room to make the 4-year, $46.5 million offer sheet to restricted free agent Nicolas Batum.

Darko Milicic has been somewhat of a lightning rod for some reason. When he was blocking shots two years ago and missing left-handed hooks, there were Wolves fans that wanted to believe he was a defensive stopper for this team. There were those that thought people were too critical of David Kahn and wanted to find the good in this insane contract that was given to a big man that had rarely shown any desire to improve his game and matter for good reasons in this league. There were people that wanted this team to be good so badly, they were willing to look past the warts to appreciate any positives he gave the team.

I don’t necessarily fault fans for doing this. We want to see the good in a player. We want him to realize his potential. We hope the Wolves’ players all come together and figure out how to win while playing their best. It’s part of wanting this team to be good. And Darko wasn’t completely useless a couple seasons ago. He DID block shots and he was okay on defense, overall. He can pass the ball, although not with the ability and proclivity that David Kahn once told Chris Webber. However, that’s where the “production” ended and where his true story begins.

Darko is not a good NBA player. Part of the reason he’s so noticeable in his awful play is because of where he was drafted and how he was hyped. This is unfair because Darko didn’t make the Pistons draft him ahead of Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. He didn’t write the encouraging scouting reports pre and post-draft that made you wonder if he’ll be an All-Star big man. He didn’t really have anything to do with his popularity, other than possessing a certain agility, size, and skill set that GMs looking to save their jobs pray for drafting.

And it’s not his fault that David Kahn gave him an unwarranted four-year, $20 million contract two summers ago.

However, Darko Milicic is guilty in appearing to not really care whether he’s good or not. There is a certain work ethic and determination that is expected with this job and he seems to possess none of it. He sets himself up for failure by appearing to not have passion for getting better. Of course, that’s me assuming what’s inside his head and that may not be a fair assessment. Maybe he’s tried as hard as he’s capable of trying and has just hit a ceiling that was completely misjudged.

Actually, it’s that line of thinking that keeps giving him a pass in some respect. Some people have been making minor excuses for Darko for quite a while, trying to minimize the trouble and maximize the “what-if” factor. Darko Milicic is a horrible NBA player and mostly everybody has known it for years  He’ll still get chances in this league if he wants them because he’s tall. People will talk themselves into him being a decent backup big man and say, “you can do worse than Darko as your backup.”

Let me tell you that you can’t. I can throw out stats like his 54.1% in the restricted area (tied for 61st amongst centers) or his WS/48 of .003 last season or his assist percentage of 6.2% that was good for 34th amongst centers during 2011-12. I could tell you about the time he got injured on jump balls twice or how he injured himself during his conditioning test. But it’s unnecessary to waste our time breaking down his game.

Darko is apathy incarnate. I don’t mind if other teams take a chance on him. That actually helps the Wolves. And while I’ve been somewhat remorseful over the departure of certain disappointments over the years (Beasley being the most recent), there isn’t an iota of regret in seeing Darko having the exit held open for him.