Nikola Pekovic

Flip Saunders sets training camp as a deadline for Timberwolves to sign Nikola Pekovic


The Tiimberwolves remain at a standstill in terms of contract talks with restricted free agent Nikola Pekovic, but the team remains committed to the belief that they will be able to re-sign him at some point before next season.

When we last checked in on the situation, the two sides seemed fairly far apart, with Pekovic’s camp wanting up to five years at $15 million per, while the Timberwolves were thinking in more of the $12 million per year range, and possibly for only four seasons.

Pekovic’s restricted status, along with the fact that he’s struggled with a history of injury lead us to believe that Minnesota has every right to be confident that they’ll close the deal eventually. As far as when that might happen, Timberwolves president Flip Saunders doesn’t seem to be in any rush.

From Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

That might have been a bit of a flippant response from Saunders there (no pun intended), meaning that there is no hard and fast deadline as long as Pekovic is in a Timberwolves uniform by the start of next season.

Stan Van Gundy rips ‘selfish’ Pistons

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The Pistons had just 19 assists – to 22 turnovers – in their 93-83 loss to the Nets last night.

Stan Van Gundy was none too pleased.

On offensive problems:

I told them in there – that was the first thing – we’re not playing together at all. I thought it was a very selfish performance, and guys wouldn’t just pass the ball to open men. They wanted to see if they could take one more dribble to get their own shot, so the passing angles were gone. I just thought we forced play after play after play. We’re not willing to move the ball

On Reggie Jackson, who scored seven points on 3-of-10 shooting with six assists and six turnovers, and was coming off Achilles soreness:

He was not good at all. He was forcing everything.

On injuries to point guards – Jackson, Brandon Jennings and Steve Blake – hindering the team’s flow in practice and that carrying over to the game:

We could probably make a lot of excuses for our guys, but we were selfish.

Van Gundy is clearly trying to send a message, and the preseason is the best time to do it.

But it’s somewhat troubling he had to do it after this game.

Eight of the 10 Pistons who played against Brooklyn project to make the regular-season rotation. Joel Anthony played over Aron Baynes, and once healthy, Blake could challenge Spencer Dinwiddie to become back up point guard – at least until Jennings is ready. Otherwise, Detroit – with Jackson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Marcus Morris, Ersan Ilyasova, Andre Drummond, Jodie Meeks, Stanley Johnson and Anthony Tolliver – looked similar to its opening-night lineup.

Van Gundy is blunt, but he doesn’t tell the media things he hasn’t already directly told his players. They appreciate that.

He’d appreciate them getting this message.

Report: Dwight Howard didn’t have offseason surgery

Dwight Howard
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Dwight Howard said he played with a torn MCL and meniscus in the Western Conference finals – pretty shocking news that few knew what to make of.

So, um, did he have offseason surgery?

Calvin Watkins of ESPN:

Howard obviously feels great about his health now, so maybe this was the right course.

We’ll never how Howard would have performed if fully healthy, but he averaged 14.4 points and 14.4 rebounds in 35.1 minutes per game against the Warriors during the conference finals. How bad could the injuries have been?