Timberwolves center Nikola Pekovic, who is set to become a restricted free agent after the season, has been linked to several teams in reports since the beginning of the season.
The biggest rumor gaining steam is Portland’s interest in signing him when he does become a restricted free agent.
Pekovic said heard rumors about the Blazer’s reported interest in signing him and considers it a compliment, according to Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com.
“That’s really nice when you hear that other teams like Portland really want to bring you in,” Pekovic told CSNNW.com. “That means that I’m doing a good job and they like what I’m doing. That’s something nice.”
It is believed that general manager David Kahn is not willing to match a max or near-max contract for Pekovic. Quality centers are a rarity in the NBA these days and the price for them are skyrocketing.
This past offseason, centers Brook Lopez and Roy Hibbert got maximum-sized deals and Omer Asik received more than $8 million a year from Houston, after averaging just 3.1 ppg the season before.
Kahn’s change of mind on Pekovic?
Kahn recently called point guard Ricky Rubio and forward Kevin Love “untouchable” in trade talks, but he said he hopes Pekovic is “part of us for many years to come.”
Pekovic has improved in points, rebounds and blocks in every year since joining Minnesota in 2010.
According to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities, there’s still a difference of opinion in the front office about whether Pekovic is worth the likely big, long-term deal he will receive as a restricted free agent.