Cordial contract talks were recently had concerning Wolves restricted free agent Nikola Pekovic between Flip Saunders and Pek’s (and Kevin Love’s) agent Jeff Schwartz. Talks were so cordial and the years and money so close, Doogie is denying trade rumors (Portland again) and tossing Love’s opt-out as being in play, all to soften the ground that they could fall apart. Cordial means friendly, right?
There really isn’t a whole lot of new information on negotiations besides some ‘initial’ dollar amounts being further apart than they (supposedly) are currently. You know, like negotiations traditionally progress until they eventual find a place to meet — which means an agreement has been reached.
Lot of rehashed facts painting a picture of fragility and potential doom like football season is upon us or something.
From The Scoops:
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.
In the end — probably sometime before Pekovic begins play with Montenegro in the EuroBasket championships in early September — a long-term deal is expected.
The conditioning portion of Montenegro’s training camp began weeks ago. They ramp up their preparation next week. But until Pekovic signs with the Wolves, he won’t be there.