The Timberwolves and Nikola Pekovic have reached an agreement on a new contract, according to team president Flip Saunders (via Twitter). While Saunders didn't reveal the terms of the deal, ESPN.com's Marc Stein reports (via Twitter) that it will be a five-year pact worth $60MM. According to Stein (Twitter link), Pekovic will also have the opportunity to earn about $8MM more in incentive-related bonuses.
Pekovic had been the last major free agent on the market, and had long been expected to eventually reach an agreement with the T-Wolves. The team reportedly offered him a four-year, $48MM deal several weeks ago, so it looks like Pekovic and agent Jeff Schwartz convinced Minnesota to agree to an additional year at the same annual salary. As Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities tweets, it's a compromise both sides can live with, since Pekovic wanted a fifth year, while the Wolves didn't want to exceed $12MM per season.
Pekovic, 27, had a breakout year for the Wolves in 2012/13, averaging 16.3 PPG, 8.8 RPG, and a 20.2 PER while playing a career-high 31.6 minutes per game. Teams like the Trail Blazers, Cavaliers, and others were expected to show interest in him this offseason, but it doesn't appear that any rival suitor made a legit run at the big man — any teams with interest likely expected the Wolves to match any reasonable offer.
Depending on the salary in the first year of Pekovic's deal, the Wolves figure to head into 2013/14 with somewhere in the neighborhood of $65MM+ on their books, well below the tax line. The club will also still have its designated player tag available for Ricky Rubio, since that rule only applies to five-year contracts for players coming off rookie-scale contracts. Pekovic wasn't a first-round draft pick, and therefore wasn't subject to the NBA's rookie scale.
According to Wolfson (via Twitter), all five years of Pekovic's contract will be guaranteed. Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune tweets that Pekovic will fly to Minnesota tomorrow, with a press conference to officially announce the new deal scheduled for Friday.