The Minnesota Timberwolves have offered Montenegrin center Nikola Pekovic a deal likely to be four years with Pekovic earning $12 million a year. Pekovic is has not accepted the offer yet but said last season he would like to return to Minnesota. Pekovic averaged 16.3 ppg along with 8.8 rpg. Pekovic is a necessity to the Wolves offense and came up big in April averaging 20.8 ppg, and 7.7 rpg.
The two traits that Pekovic has that helps the Timberwolves are: size and converting free throws. Pekovic is a bruiser in the paint and at 6’11, 290 pounds is one of the biggest men in the NBA. Surprisingly with his monstrous size Pekovic has a soft touch around the rim. His size is so important because he can bully the opponent’s center and he complements Kevin Love extremely well. Kevin Love is a player that will get an above average amount of rebounds, which Pekovic struggles with on the defensive end. However Pekovic is a great offensive rebounder averaging 3.5 offensive rebounds per game. On offense Love often drifts out to the three point line while Pekovic can battle in the paint. Pekovic also converts his free throws. Big guys in the NBA like Pekovic rarely convert their free throws. Pekovic shoots around 75% from the line which is crucial as he is in the paint most of the time and draws a lot of contact.
The Portland Trail Blazers and the Dallas Mavericks are both interested in Nikola Pekovic. The Mavericks especially are a threat to steal Pekovic away with their enormous amount of cap space. However, Pekovic is a restricted free agent and the Timberwolves have the right and the money to sign Pekovic if he receives any offers from the other team. The other reason that Pekovic would be smart to sign with the Timberwolves is that he would be able to push for a playoff spot in the west, which is something that Dallas may not be able to offer with the roster they currently have. The Wolves struggled mightily without Pekovic in the lineup as he missed 20 games due to injury. He will likely be injured next season for 15-20 games next season as well because of his bruising play style. However, in my opinion the Wolves should spare no expense to sign Pekovic. The Wolves are only a defensive wing away from contending for a playoff spot and without Pekovic on the roster I see another trip to the lottery for the Timberwolves.