It’s a negotiation. This is how these things go.
The Minnesota Timberwolves want Nikola Pekovic back next season — he’s a perfect fit next to Kevin Love along the front line, plus he’s irreplaceable for any “Superman II” theme parties — but the team would like to get the most value it can. Pekovic wants as much money as he can get in his first big NBA contract.
Pekovic’s agents and Minnesota have negotiated, but the restricted free agent didn’t get helped out with an offer from another team that the Wolves would have had to match (that they likely would have hurt the chances Pekovic would get one).
Next week, Minnesota decision maker Flip Saunders is headed to New York to meet with Pekovic’s agent to try and sort this all out, reports Jerry Zgoda of the Star-Tribune.
The Wolves have offered Pekovic a four-year offer believed to be worth up to $50 million. Taylor said Schwartz had submitted a counteroffer.
“We made an offer and they made a counter offer,” Taylor said. “And they decided they should get together and talk about it in person rather than over the phone.’’
That said, Taylor indicated that he regarded the Wolves’ initial offer a good one. “Our offer wasn’t a negotiating offer,” he said. “Our offer was what we think was a really good offer.”
Pekovic averaged 16.3 points on 52 percent shooting and 8.8 rebounds a game last season, while playing solid help defense in the paint (which Minnesota needs considering Love is also on the front line). His scoring numbers likely drop some next season with Love back, but his value to the team does not.
That said, the Wolves offer seems right in the ballpark for Pekovic. If he really doesn’t like it his only leverage is to play one year at the qualifying offer of just over $6 million then be an unrestricted free agent next summer. That’s a lot of risk to take to see if another team would pay you a little more next season (he’s not a max salary guy).
I expect we’ll see a deal get done.