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Continued: Kirilenko opts out; Wolves have more cash for free agency

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Last update: June 30, 2013 - 12:20 AM

The Wolves pay Love a maximum salary and probably will have to do the same when Ricky Rubio’s rookie contract expires in 2015. You can bet the Wolves will angle for a contract that pays closer to $12 million or $11 million than $14 million, but NBA big men command a premium. Portland rushed to offer Indiana’s Roy Hibbert the maximum last year, and the Pacers matched.

“There aren’t many hometown discounts given in our league,” Saunders said. “We expect he’ll be back. We feel he’s a vital part of what we’re doing, and we’ll do what we have to do to bring him back.”

That said, Saunders suggested everything has a limit and mentioned the New England Patriots and their philosophy.

“They’ve always said for every player and every position — depending on their age and where they’re at in their career — they always have a walk-away price on everybody, and they showed that this year with [receiver Wes] Welker,” Saunders said. “So I think with everybody there is a walk-away price, but I do feel we’ll be able to get something done. It’s a high priority.”

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