Nikola Pekovic is a restricted free agent with the Timberwolves, but despite the team tendering a fair offer in the neighborhood of four years and $50 million, he remains unsigned.
Considering that Minnesota will match any offer for Pek in that vicinity, it would seem to make sense that the two parties wrap things up and move on with their lives.
But there’s some uneasiness and some posturing that’s going on in the Pekovic camp right now that’s making the process take longer than expected.
Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune does a nice job of breaking the whole thing down. In addition to the basics — Pekovic’s team waiting for a larger offer from another team that hasn’t come and isn’t likely to, along with no real rush on his part to sign other than making sure it happens before playing for his national team in September — there’s some weird business stuff that’s dragging things out.
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.
Schwartz also probably is feeling pressure to deliver big for his client for a couple reasons: Pekovic was expected to be a hot commodity on the free-agent market even though he is a restricted free agent but that big offer never come. Schwartz is in the same position with new client Brandon Jennings, who appears to be the biggest loser in this year’s free agency.
The nuclear option here would be Pekovic deciding to play next season for the $6 million qualifying offer, in order to become an unrestricted free agent the following season. That would be an extremely risky proposition, obviously, and it may be why Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor seems so confident that a deal will eventually get done.
“My sense is, I think we both know he’s going to be playing for our team next year,” Taylor said, in an NBA TV interview on Thursday.
That’s the outcome we all expect. But it’s clear that there are some unusual issues here clouding the situation, which makes the delay easier to understand.