Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
UPDATE: Friday, July 19, at 11:00 a.m. ET by Adam Fromal
As reported by the Star Tribune's Jerry Zgoda, Nikola Pekovic's camp and the Minnesota Timberwolves and Nikola Pekovic are hoping to figure everything out and end this never-ending contract-extension process at some point next week.
The sides remain confident that a deal will be made, but they just have to manage to come to terms. There are many reasons for the delay, and here's a big one:
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.
Still, don't expect to see the big man leave Minnesota.
UPDATE: Wednesday, July 10, at 2:05 p.m. ET by Adam Fromal
Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Minnesota Timberwolves and Nikola Pekovic are "getting closer" on a contract extension worth $50 million over the course of four years.
This shouldn't be much of a surprise, as there haven't been any indications that Pek wants to leave or that the Wolves intend on letting him do so.
--End of update--
UPDATE: Tuesday, July 9, at 8:50 a.m. ET by Dan Favale
According to Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune, the Timberwolves have made a formal contract offer to Pekovic. They reportedly expect an answer soon.
Sam Amico of Fox Sports says that the Cavaliers were interested in the big man, but Pek has made it clear he wants to stay in Minny.
---End of update---
Marcus R. Fuller of the St. Paul Pioneer Press adds that the Timberwolves have made re-signing their restricted free agent the "top priority this offseason."
The Portland Trail Blazers are reportedly interested in Pekovic, per John Canzano of The Oregonian.
Buying or Selling?
While Minnesota fans had no choice but to watch Howard's free-agent drama unfold, a different move this offseason should have piqued the Timberwolves' interest.
The San Antonio Spurs made the first move on the big-man market, locking up restricted free agent Tiago Splitter on a four-year, $36 million deal.
Considering Pekovic held sizable advantages over Splitter in both scoring (16.3 to 10.3) and rebounding (8.8 to 6.4) last season, the Timberwolves should be scattering couch cushions on the floor searching for every penny they have to throw at Pekovic.
Love does a lot of things well (scoring, shooting, rebounding), but defense isn't one of his strong suits. The 6'11", 290-pound Pekovic is the ideal bruiser to share the floor with Love.
Minnesota knows this and will do everything in its power to keep Pek around. The contract might end up going higher than the Timberwolves would like, but they should get a solid return on that investment.