By: Sam Ekstrom | KFAN.com
After more than a month of waiting, the Timberwolves have finally agreed to a long-term deal with big man Nikola Pekovic.
Just before 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Wolves’ president of basketball operations Flip Saunders tweeted: “#wolvesnation. We have agreed to terms with Pek.”
NBA insider Mark Stein confirmed the deal to be at five years, $60 million, which means a compromise was reached. Reportedly, the four-year, $48 million contract initially offered was too low of an annual rate for Pekovic, who was interested in $15 million/year.
In the end, the Wolves got their preferred yearly payout, and Pekovic got a fifth year.
The timing of the deal comes as a bit of a surprise after Flip Saunders commented Monday that he had not held any talks recently with Pekovic’s agent Jeff Schwartz. However, it’s possible that Pekovic was simply holding out to avoid participating in the European Basketball Championships, which Saunders has confirmed Pekovic will not play in.
There was never much doubt that the Wolves would lock up the 6-foot-11 center. A restricted free agent, Pekovic was not extended an offer sheet by any other team, giving the Wolves leverage.
Said Saunders on Monday, “I believe that we are the best situation for him. He’s had some success here… I do believe that Pek knows that, with the people we’ve brought in, this is a positive place.”
Minnesota will begin training camp on Oct. 1 and play their regular-season opener Oct. 30.