HoopsHype Nikola Pekovic rumors

July 10, 2013 Updates
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Saunders also said he is in touch with center Nikola Pekovic, who was extended a qualifying offer by the Wolves on Thursday. "We're having communication with 'Pek'," Saunders said. "We can't sign him, but we're going to talk with his representatives and see where they're at. He knows where we're at and what we're trying to do." Saunders has said repeatedly that retaining Pekovic is an offseason priority. St. Paul Pioneer Press

June 27, 2013 Updates
June 26, 2013 Updates

When the free agent-market opens Monday, the Wolves have a star center, Nikola Pekovic, 27, who will become a restricted free agent -- the same as was Batum last summer. Re-signing Pekovic is the Wolves' top priority, and the team intends to do it. St. Paul Pioneer Press

It's unclear whether the Trail Blazers would consider signing Pekovic to an offer sheet as retribution for Batum or whether a signing would merely be business in the NBA. At the least, however, Pekovic's free-agent status makes the Wolves vulnerable for payback from Portland, which could make Minnesota overpay considerably to retain their popular 6-foot-11, 290-pounder. I asked Wolves owner Glen Taylor on Tuesday if he's aware of the possibility. "Yep, we think about that," Taylor said. Taylor is a billionaire. Portland owner Paul Allen is a billionaire 15 times over. It's unclear whether Allen is a vindictive sort. "I don't know if they would do that or not," Taylor said of the Trail Blazers. St. Paul Pioneer Press

June 24, 2013 Updates
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Take the Montenegro side that impressed in last summer's Qualification Round with a 10-0 record, add two of the most promising NBA centers, and you get a frontcourt that could wreak havoc at EuroBasket 2013. This dream scenario is very close to turning into reality for the small Balkan country, as former Partizan, Panathinaikos and Minnesota Timberwolves center Nikola Pekovic and Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic are included in the 21-strong preliminary squad for September's EuroBasket that head coach Luka Pavicevic announced on Monday. FIBA Europe

June 13, 2013 Updates

Saunders did not meet with Pekovic while he was in Europe last weekend for a camp featuring top international prospects, as he had hoped. And he does not expect to visit with him in person before Pekovic becomes a restricted free agent on July 1, but will maintain a dialogue with Pekovic’s agent. “He knows where we’re at,” said Saunders, who was in Italy less than three days. “Now it’s just a matter of when the time comes, we’ll sit down and deal with things.” Minneapolis Star-Tribune

June 12, 2013 Updates
June 10, 2013 Updates

Meanwhile, Saunders is scouting in preparation of two first-round picks in the June 27 draft, Nos. 9 and 26, looking to add size on the front line and shooting, trying to resolve a glut of point guards, and awaiting decisions on the futures of Nikola Pekovic and Andrei Kirilenko. Pekovic becomes a restricted free agent July 1 – “We plan on signing him,” Saunders said – while Kirilenko has to decide days before that whether to stay in his contract or return to free agency. NBA.com

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