Restricted free agent Nikola Pekovic was expected to come to terms with the Minnesota Timberwolves weeks ago after they offered him a four year, $48 million dollar contract.
There was shockingly no movement on the deal and now we have a clearer indication as to why – Pekovic isn’t happy with the offer (say what?!?!?!).
According to a league source, the Timberwolves big man wants at least $15 million in annual salary.
Per Darren Wolfson:
Saunders was in New York City earlier in the week to meet with Schwartz. Word is it was cordial gathering. But one central issue remains, according to sources: money. The Wolves are offering Pekovic a four-year, $48 million extension. Schwartz wants more. In fact, at least initially, a lot more. One league source said his opening asking price was in the vicinity of $15 million/year.
The possibility of a five-year agreement exists (point guard Ricky Rubio would still be eligible for a five-year extension because Pekovic is not on the rookie scale). But the main focus has been on four-years. The Wolves are willing to add some incentive sweeteners — think games played with Pekovic’s injury history. But the idea that they’ll budge from the guaranteed portion — $12 million/year — is nearly ludicrous.
Pekovic’s only leverage is to sign the $6 million qualifying offer and become an unrestricted free agent next summer. But nobody involved believes that will happen. Leaving $42 million-plus on the table, especially with a player who breaks down way more so than others, would be absurd.