Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor said Wednesday that President of Basketball Operations Flip Saunders will travel to New York next week — as early as Monday — to talk with Nikola Pekovic’s agent, Jeff Schwartz, in hopes of finalizing a deal for the restricted free agent.
The Wolves have offered Pekovic a contract. The team has not disclosed the specifics of the offer for their 6-11 center from Montenegro, but reports have suggested it is a four-year offer believed to be worth about $48 million. Taylor said Schwartz had submitted a counteroffer.
“We made an offer and they made a counteroffer,” Taylor said. “And they decided they should get together and talk about it in person rather than over the phone.”
That said, Taylor indicated that he regarded the Wolves’ initial offer to be attractive. “Our offer wasn’t a negotiating offer,” he said. “Our offer was what we think was a really good offer.”
Saunders will go to New York alone. Taylor said he didn’t think Pekovic, 27, would attend the meeting, saying Schwartz had asked the Wolves to deal with him rather than his client.
Still, Taylor didn’t seem worried about potential problems getting the deal done, indicating that adding incentives to the team’s offer might be an avenue to getting the deal completed.
Getting Pekovic signed would appear to be the final large-scale move the Wolves need to get done during what has been a rather busy offseason.
The Wolves re-signed Chase Budinger, acquired free agent shooting guard Kevin Martin and landed Corey Brewer and Ronny Turiaf to provide depth.
Pekovic averaged 16.3 points and 8.8 rebounds during the 2012-13 season, his third in the league.
Love to rejoin U.S. team
Wolves forward Kevin Love said he will play for Team USA in the 2014 FIBA World Cup (formerly the world championships) in Spain. The tournament runs Aug. 30 to Sept. 14.
Love and Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant announced their intentions to U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski and USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo in person Wednesday in Las Vegas.
Love will be playing in his third consecutive major international event. He was part of the U.S. team that won gold in the 2012 Olympics, averaging 11.6 points and a team-high 7.6 rebounds per game in London, and on the team that finished first at the 2010 world championships in Turkey.
“Just being a part of USA Basketball has meant a lot for my career,” Love said in a news release. “Jerry and Coach keep mentioning being part of the USA Basketball family, and heading forward we are looking for bigger and brighter things.”