Chart: Five questions facing the Wolves

  • Updated: April 13, 2013 - 8:03 PM
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The Minnesota Timberwolves' Nikola Pekovic, left, drives against the Toronto Raptors' Aaron Gray at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Friday, April 5, 2013. Toronto won, 95-93. (Bruce Bisping/Minneapolis Star Tribune/MCT)

Will the Wolves pay Nikola Pekovic?

The team has been through this big-contract dance before with Pek’s agent, who also represents Al Jefferson and Kevin Love. Owner Glen Taylor said, “We want him on our team, and we’ll try to do everything we can to keep him here.”

Pekovic wants to stay, but ultimately the decision comes down to money, doesn’t it? What if another team offers a max deal? Do the Wolves swallow hard and match the offer or work a sign-and-trade with that team?

“I don’t know what to say about that,” Pekovic said when asked if money rules all. “My job is to play basketball. I think I did my job good. Now it’s really something that’s their part. It’s also my decision, but now it’s their part of the job [to make him an equitable offer].”

Will Andrei Kirilenko turn down $10m?

The veteran can opt out of a contract that pays him that next season and become free to sign with another team or negotiate the last lengthy contract of his career with the Wolves this summer.

“It’s a very high option, so he has to think about it twice before he walks away,” Taylor said. “I can’t do any better money than that was. I don’t know for what reasons he’d walk away. [An extension] gets a little complicated because of Pek’s and Ricky’s [Rubio] contracts.”

Might Taylor flip for Flip?

Taylor speaks regularly with former Wolves coach Flip Saunders, partly because Saunders has been involved with a group (or groups) trying to buy the team.

Their relationship has led to media and Internet speculation that Saunders will be the team’s next general manager — particularly after Saunders didn’t reach a deal to coach the Gophers recently — if Taylor doesn’t retain David Kahn.

“I don’t want to tell you I don’t talk to Flip because I do talk to Flip,” Taylor said. “We just talk, on his thoughts on different players and stuff like that. But I haven’t talked to him about us.”

Does Brandon Roy have a future?

He has a two-year contract after playing just five games, but next season’s $5 million salary is not guaranteed so the answer is no. Kahn said he still considers it a gamble that was worth taking because the team protected itself financially next season and because it added Kirilenko, Alexey Shved and Chase Budinger on the wing last summer, not knowing, though, that Budinger would go down, too. The Wolves still could trade Roy’s salary slot to make a trade work come draft time.

Who’s going to own this team?

Short answer: Taylor, right, for the foreseeable future. He hoped to complete a sale before the season started but hasn’t found the right buyer — someone from Minnesota or with Minnesota ties — who promises to keep the team here.

So he intends to keep the team for now and seek a solution for limited partners who want out.

“I still love being involved with the team, I enjoy it,” he said. “And this is not a good year to go out.”

Jerry Zgoda











 

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