Timberwolves Waive Nikola Pekovic

10:22pm: The Wolves will receive cap relief for Pekovic’s remaining salary, Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News confirms (Twitter link).

4:12pm: The Nikola Pekovic era in Minnesota is over, with the Timberwolves formally announcing today that they’ve waived the veteran center (Twitter link).

Pekovic had a couple very productive seasons for the Timberwolves in 2012/13 and ’13/14, averaging 16.9 PPG and 8.7 RPG in 116 games during that stretch. However, he has long been plagued by injuries, having never appeared in more than 65 games in a season. In 2015/16, Pekovic played in just 12 games before being shut down. He hasn’t appeared in an NBA contest since then due to ankle and Achilles issues.

“For two years I have struggled with this injury,” Pekovic said back in December. “I have been mentally exhausted. This year I went to Minneapolis for two months and I did everything possible to return to the court, but there are times when you simply can’t. I can’t run without pain.”

While the Wolves’ announcement on Pekovic didn’t mention the team’s cap situation, it’s believed that medical retirement is the next step for him. A determination on Pekovic’s health must be made by a doctor who is jointly approved by the NBA and the players’ union, as was the case for Chris Bosh in Miami.

Assuming that independent doctor indeed rules Pekovic medically unfit to continue playing, Minnesota would immediately be able to eliminate his cap charges for the rest of his contract. The Wolves are currently on the hook for $11.6MM in 2017/18 for Pekovic, so medical retirement would create an extra chunk of cap room for the team.

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