The Minnesota Timberwolves are reshaping their roster into what could be a playoff bound team next season. In the offseason, the team added Chase Budinger, Greg Stiemsma, Andrei Kirilenko, Brandon Roy, and Alexey Shved to a roster with Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio and Derrick Williams. But if you think Minnesota is simply looking at next season, think again.
GM David Kahn is looking towards the future and in particular, center Nikola Pekovic.
Kahn is fully aware of Minnesota's financial status and is preparing to offer Pekovic a payday if he duplicates his breakout season.
After signing Roy, Stiemsma and Alexey Shved, Kahn said the Wolves are $400,000-ish under the salary cap. He said the only way to add player(s) now is to sign them for the league minimum or trade a current salary or salaries to clear room.
He said the Wolves’ spending this summer still leaves them positioned to re-sign Nikola Pekovic to a big contract. They can exceed the salary cap to sign him either this fall or next summer.
“If he has the kind of season he had last season and given the size of some of the contracts some of the other centers have gotten, we need to be prepared for it,” Kahn said.
As Kahn mentioned, Pekovic had a great season. He averaged 13.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 56% shooting. A far cry from his averages in his rookie season where he averaged 5.5 points and 3 rebounds.
Moreover, big men in the NBA is a commodity. It's not uncommon for team to throw big money at big men just because, they're big. As long as they can clog the middle and play some defense, well, that's good enough for any team. As they say, "You can't teach height."
But Pekovic isn't just a big body. He showed he can be effective on both ends of the court and what team wouldn't want that their team.
But kudos to Kahn. He has not the best reps for being a smart GM, so to see him making a move like this to secure Pekovic is sure to put a smile on Minnesota fans.