After well over a month of negotiations, Minnesota Timberwolves GM Flip Saunders has his man.
Two days after setting a training camp deadline to get a deal done, Saunders announced that he had come to terms with Nikola Pekovic.
#wolvesnation. We have agreed to terms with Pek.
— Flip Saunders (@Flip_Saunders) August 14, 2013
ESPN’s Marc Stein broke the news first.
This just in: I’m told Nikola Pekovic and Wolves have agreed to five-year deal worth $60 million — Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) August 14, 2013
Sources with knowledge of deal say contract will also include up to $8 million in additional incentive-related bonuses for Pekovic — Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) August 14, 2013
The deal works for both parties, as Minnesota got Pekovic at their price ($12 million per year) by giving him a guaranteed fifth year. The move doesn’t conflict with future plans to lock up star point guard Ricky Rubio, as Minneapolis 5 Eyewitness News anchor Darren Wolfson notes.
To the many asking: Rubio can still get the 5-year max if the #Twolves want to give it to him. Pek was on a different scale.
— Darren Wolfson (@DarrenWolfson) August 14, 2013
Teammate Derrick Williams congratulated Pekovic on the contract, even as his own future with the team may be in question.
My man pek ! Nice big fella !
— Derrick Williams (@RealDwill7) August 14, 2013
Meanwhile, media members either were in shock or making a mockery of the deal.
— Bo Churney (@bochurney) August 14, 2013
Holy Pekovic. Tons of money. Happy for the guy; he’s one of my favorite players I’ve covered.
— Joan Niesen (@JoanNiesen) August 14, 2013
Fortunately, Grantland writer Netw3rk is known for sarcasm and making jokes on Twitter. Otherwise, we might actually surmise that GM Saunders was actually shaken down for a five-year deal.
Imagine the Montenegrin center dangling him over a hotel balcony Suge Knight style and that’s how you arrive at Netw3rk’s tweet.
“I wanted to live.” – Flip on why he gave Pek 5 years/60.
— netw3rk (@netw3rk) August 14, 2013
Now that Pekovic is locked in, the Wolves can focus on their forthcoming season as they hope to make a strong push for the playoffs.
Pek will not play in Euro champs. “He needs a full training camp to be play at level he needs to play” to avoid injury, Flip says
— Jerry Zgoda (@JerryZgoda) August 14, 2013
Star forward Kevin Love may need to refrain from breaking his hands while doing pushups if the team has any hope at making the 2014 NBA Playoffs, but re-signing Pek is definitely a first step in the right direction.
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