Trading Pekovic seems sensible


Nikola Pekovic has been productive when healthy. But he hasn't been healthy for a full season. (Photo credit to BleacherReport)
Nikola Pekovic has been productive when healthy. But he hasn’t been healthy for a full season. (Photo credit to BleacherReport)

Nikola Pekovic signed a 5-year, $60 million contract extension with Minnesota Timberwolves in the summer of 2013. Since then, he has appeared in a total of 63 games, out of a possible 119. It’s time the Timberwolves look to trade the big man.Pekovic has made roughly $18 million so far, before taxes. That means Minnesota has paid him $285, 714.29 per game played. PER GAME PLAYED. To even qualify for league-leaders in statistics, a player has to play in at least 70 percent of his team’s games. That’s at least 57 games. Even if Pekovic played in 57 games, the Wolves would be getting more bang-for-their-buck, $210,526.32 per game.

The fact that he has missed 56 games over the last year and a half, means Minnesota has wasted $8,780,488.02 on him.

With Minnesota’s record as bad as it is this season, it should continue to lose games with the hope of getting the first pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. Minnesota has never had any lottery luck in its entire existence, but if this would be the year to have that fortune change.

Most scouts, predict Duke’s Jahlil Okafor to be the best prospect in the draft. Okafor, a 6-11 freshman center, has been a dominant big man in college basketball this season. So far, he has averaged 18.9 ppg, 9.4 rpg, and 66.8 percent from the field.

Of course, his rookie contract would be a lot cheaper than Pekovic’s, and maybe Minnesota could get something in return for Pekovic. Whether it’s a couple of backups or a below-average center, the Wolves wouldn’t be any worse off. The main goal should be to get Pekovic’s contract of its books.

When Pekovic is healthy, he is a good player. He is good in the low-post, and a good free throw shooter for a big man. His offensive numbers were very good last season. Per 36 Minutes, Pekovic averaged 20.4 ppg and 10.1 rpg, with Kevin Love on the team. He also shot 54.1 percent from the floor and 74.7 percent from the line.

Across the board, Minnesota centers averaged better numbers against opposing centers last season. So when Pekovic is healthy, he is usually performing better than his opponent.

But Pekovic hasn’t been healthy, and he’s never played an 82-game season.

That’s why Minnesota should look to trade him.

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