Nikola Pekovic was a restricted free agent this summer, so despite the fact that negotiations seemed to be dragging on longer than expected, the team remained confident that a deal would get done eventually.
That day came on Wednesday, as the team locked up Pekovic with a contract worth $60 million over five years, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com. The deal will also include up to $8 million in incentive-related bonuses.
The annual figure is what the Timberwolves had been offering essentially from the very start, but the team wanted the deal to be four years instead of five. Caving on the additional season is likely what got the contract signed, as Pekovic’s team was reportedly asking for in the $15 million per year range in a later stage of the negotiations.
While teams weren’t lining up with offers to set the market value for Pekovic due to his restricted status, this is a reasonable contract for a player possessing his skill set.
Pekovic is a bruising interior player who can score in a variety of ways, and is capable of dominating the glass at times, as well. He averaged 16.3 points and 8.8 rebounds in 31.6 minutes per game last season, all of which were career highs.
“Retaining Pek was our No. 1 priority this offseason and we’re very excited that he’s chosen to continue his career in Minnesota,” Flip Saunders said, in a statement released by the team. “Thanks to a lot of hard work and determination, Pek has developed into one of the NBA’s premier centers and is entering the prime of his career. We envision Pek and Kevin Love being the ‘Bruise Brothers’ and forming one of the best front courts in the NBA for a long time to come.”