Timberwolves Likely To Re-Sign Nikola Pekovic

March 6 2013 at 10:48am CST By Luke Adams

Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum figure to dominate headlines this summer when it comes to centers hitting the free agent market, but Nikola Pekovic is another free-agent-to-be that shouldn't be overlooked. The Timberwolves big man will become a restricted free agent in July, and according to Charley Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, "people who know" believe there's no chance the T-Wolves let Pekovic sign elsewhere.

Pekovic, who is earning about $4.84MM this season, is enjoying the best year of his young career, averaging 15.9 PPG and 8.8 RPG in 31.6 minutes per contest. Pekovic will be in line for a big raise next year, with an eight-digit annual salary to be expected.

Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities has reported repeatedly that there may be a difference of opinions in the Wolves' front office when it comes to Pekovic's value. Wolfson tweeted yesterday that he'd be "shocked" if Minnesota went as high as $12MM annually on a long-term contract for the 27-year-old. Still, given the number of teams expected to have cap space this summer, as well as long-term deals we've seen players like JaVale McGee and DeAndre Jordan sign, it's hard to imagine that Pekovic won't command something in that $11-12MM neighborhood.

As we covered yesterday, Kevin Love recently told Grantland's Zach Lowe that he feels good about Minnesota's chances of re-signing Pekovic, because "when he's familiar with something, he kind of sticks with it." If that's the case, perhaps the three-year veteran will consider giving the T-Wolves a bit of a hometown discount when the two sides enter negotiations.

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