The Minnesota Timberwolves have been hit hard with injuries this season with almost every key player on their roster having missed some time, including starting center Nikola Pekovic. But despite his injuries, keeping Pekovic in Minnesota should be a top priority for the Timberwolves.
In just his third season Pekovic has already established himself as one of the most intimidating players in the NBA, and he’s pretty solid offensively as well. As his minutes and role have grown Pekovic has increased his scoring average from 5.5 as a rookie to 13.9 last season to 16.2 this year without fellow starter Kevin Love to take some of the post pressure off of him.
Pekovic is also a solid rebounder and has improved in this category in each season as well. He is averaging a career-high 8.8 rebounds a game this year as well as posting his best total rebounding rate since he’s been in the league, pulling down 15.9% of available rebounds when he is on the court.
There aren’t many centers in the league capable of delivering the consistent level of interior play that Pekovic has for the Timberwolves, making him a hot commodity come free agency this summer. Most centers his age and ability command around $10-12 million per season, and Pekovic’s price tag should be no different.
Minnesota should have the cap space to keep him, but if they get in a bidding war with a team that has deeper pockets — the Dallas Mavericks, for example — then the Timberwolves will be in trouble. In any case, keeping Pekovic on the roster would be a wise move for Minnesota, and they should do what it takes to make it a priority.