Asked if he thinks Pekovic’s five-year deal will be an issue with Love, Saunders said, “No, not at all.”
The Wolves now have committed more than $110 million to Love and Pekovic, whom together Saunders termed the team’s “Bruise Brothers” in a statement that announced Wednesday’s news. Pekovic’s brutish low-post scoring game creates space for Love’s three-point shooting range even if neither player is a defensive, rim-protecting shot blocker.
Saunders said he believes coach Rick Adelman’s underrated team-defense system and the physical nature of both players below the rim will compensate for their lack of shot blocking. He said he expects newly added first-round pick Gorgui Dieng and veteran Turiaf as well as NBA Development League alum Chris Johnson will help the team in that respect.
“When you look at Pek and Love, I don’t know if there are any two other guys in the league together who will average as many rebounds,” Saunders said. “They complement each other. Very rarely do you get an inside player like Pek who will draw fouls and an outside player like Kevin who can score from the perimeter. And then you throw Ricky into the equation …”
The Wolves spent $120 million on guaranteed contracts this summer.
“Anyone who had any questions about the commitment of [owner] Glen Taylor and this organization on trying to put forth a winning team that not only gets in the playoffs but can do some damage, I believe over the last seven weeks that has been answered,” Saunders said.