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Updated: 52 min 53 sec ago

Monday (The albatross of Pekovic's contract) edition: Wha' Happened?

Mon, 03/02/2015 - 10:19
Nikola Pekovic has never played more than 65 games in a season. When the Wolves signed him to a five-year, $60 million contract extension in the summer of 2013, the motivation was two-fold: 1) They thought they were building a contender around Kevin Love, and offensively Love and Pek worked very well together. So in order to convince Love to stick around, and without other options at center, they couldn’t afford to let Pek walk. 2) They were hoping Pek would stay healthy enough — maybe missing 15 games a year — to justify the expense because, when healthy, he is a productive (albeit unique) post player. Since signing that extension, Pek has played 81 of the Wolves’ 140 games. We would bank on that number staying at 81 for a while, now that Pekovic’s bothersome ankle problem has flared up again. Last year, his 54 games were productive: 17.5 ppg, 8.7 rpg and 54.1 percent shooting from the field. You could almost live with him doing that and only playing two-thirds of the games for the life of the contract. This year, those numbers — without Love spreading the floor and giving him more room to work down low — have dipped to 13.2 ppg and 7.8 rpg on a dismal 42.9 percent shooting. His health problems seem to be limiting his mobility, to the point that he’s a candidate to have his shot blocked on every post-up or putback. He just turned 29, so this should be the prime of his career. But he’s also a giant man who puts a lot of pressure on those poor ankles and feet. There is a nagging suspicion that — without Love and with those injuries — this is close to the version of Pek we are destined to see for the life of the contract (another three years, at roughly $12 million per year, after this season). And that would create a two-fold problem: First, that’s a lot of money and years left for a player who might not fit into the team’s current style and whose production has diminished. Second, it potentially puts the Wolves in an awkward spot if they get one of the top two picks in this year’s draft and have a shot at an elite college big man because that player, plus Pek, plus Gorgui Dieng would be quite a logjam at center. Our best guess is the Wolves would still take an elite big man if they got that chance, and then try to move Pekovic to another team. To do that, though, they would probably have to take back another big contract. Unless Pek makes a magical transformation and can return to even his 2013-14 production level, his is the one contract you look at, long-term with the Wolves, and cringe at. It won’t kill them, cap-wise, but it will weigh them down.
Categories: Local

Philip Nelson sentencing is today; up to 90 days in jail possible

Mon, 03/02/2015 - 09:43
The former U quarterback admitted a lesser charge after a prosecution expert said that his kick did not lead to Isaac Kolstad’s severe brain injury.
Categories: Local

Five players already ruled out by flu today

Mon, 03/02/2015 - 08:44
Virus continues to be a problem as Paul Molitor conducts first Twins camp as manager
Categories: Local

Twins reliever Boyer goes from retired to rehired

Sun, 03/01/2015 - 21:58
Blaine Boyer quit in 2012 but came back last year to avoid any regrets
Categories: Local

Wild GM doesn't feel urgency to make a trade

Sun, 03/01/2015 - 21:52
“I like the team,’’ Chuck Fletcher says as the NHL trade deadline approaches.
Categories: Local

Jim Souhan: Guardado's classy call leads to reunion with Twins

Sun, 03/01/2015 - 21:39
Eddie Guardado’s renewed relationship with his first team is different from many other’s. He turned himself into an All-Star closer, became emblematic of their overachieving teams of that era and sometimes butted heads with General Manager Terry Ryan.
Categories: Local

Sid Hartman: Vikings GM Spielman still has praise for Peterson

Sun, 03/01/2015 - 21:36
Rick Spielman is free to talk with his superstar running back again after last week’s court ruling.
Categories: Local

Settlement announced in former Roseville coach's defamation suit against parent

Sun, 03/01/2015 - 21:27
The defendant in the 2013 lawsuit was ordered to retract statements alleging Jeff Pauletti abused Roseville hockey players.
Categories: Local

Wolves' Pekovic sidelined again by ankle

Sun, 03/01/2015 - 21:06
Nikola Pekovic had to sit out most of the second half Saturday night and might not play Monday.
Categories: Local

Day at Twins camp: Four more sent home because of flu

Sun, 03/01/2015 - 19:28
Categories: Local

Wild keeps calm as Avalanche loses its head

Sun, 03/01/2015 - 19:20
Coach Mike Yeo’s team emerged late Saturday with a key victory, while Colorado has some explaining to do.
Categories: Local

Botticelli among former Gophers hoping to prove themselves on Pro Day

Sun, 03/01/2015 - 18:51
Cameron Botticelli has been working out since playing his final college game at the Citrus Bowl, eager to prove himself on Monday for NFL scouts.
Categories: Local

Kaminsky has 31 points, No. 5 Wisconsin clinches share of Big Ten with 68-61 win over Spartans

Sun, 03/01/2015 - 18:46
Frank Kaminsky scored 31 points in his final home game and No. 5 Wisconsin clinched at least a share of the Big Ten regular-season title.
Categories: Local

Pay Peterson and he'll play as if possessed

Sun, 03/01/2015 - 18:04
When athletes and agents (and the rest of us, for that matter) suggest that it's not about the money, almost always it is about the money.
Categories: Local

Devan Dubnyk named NHL's First Star of the Month

Sun, 03/01/2015 - 18:01
The Wild goaltender went 11-2-1 last month
Categories: Local

Hawkeyes zero in from long range to beat U women

Sun, 03/01/2015 - 16:05
No. 17 Iowa shot 13 of 23 from the three-point line to hold off the Gophers, despite Shae Kelley's 29 points and 12 rebounds and Amanda Zahui B.'s 22 points and 21 rebounds.
Categories: Local

'The Big Ticket' says thanks with 1,000 free tickets for Monday game

Sun, 03/01/2015 - 09:39
“Love you all, and thanks for the love. Enjoy the game on me,” Garnett says.
Categories: Local

Wild picks up a win over physical Colorado

Sat, 02/28/2015 - 23:57
Minnesota improved its playoff positioning with a win in a playoff atmosphere.
Categories: Local

Apple Valley's Hall wins fifth Class 3A state title

Sat, 02/28/2015 - 22:40
In line for history, Apple Valley junior Mark Hall wins his fifth state championship
Categories: Local


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