Timberwolves Rumors: LaMarcus Aldridge Trade An Option As Nikola Pekovic Minnesota Extension Moves Slow, LA Lakers, Warriors, Mavericks and Hawks Liked Center

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Jul 19, 2013 10:50 AM EDT
Minnesota Timberwolves center Nikola Pekovic
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Nick Collison (L) tries unsuccessfully to strip the ball from Minnesota Timberwolves center Nikola Pekovic during the second half of their NBA basketball game at the Target Center in Minneapolis March 29, 2013. Minnesota won 101-93."

The Minnesota Timberwolves have had a slow but steady summer and the biggest move for the team right now is working on an extension with center Nikola Pekovic, while there also have been reports that the Blazers offered LaMarcus Aldridge for Kevin Love, but the team rebuffed them.

The Timberwolves were expecting another team to go after Pekovic as a restricted free agent, but the teams that were interested like the LA Lakers, Warriors, Mavericks and Hawks, never made him an offer. Now the team must figure out what the next move is in negotiations. The Minnesota Timberwolves have been active this summer in free agency after bringing in names like Kevin Martin and Ronny Turiaf, the team feels it is ready to contend for a playoff spot and even though they just signed Corey Brewer back, there was a time when the franchise could have traded for Tayshaun Prince.

According to Pro Basketball Talk, the Timberwolves had the chance to trade for Prince from the Grizzlies before adding Brewer and the report says that the team could have pulled off the deal while giving "minimal" in return. The reason for the deal was likely due to Prince's high salary after signing a four-year contract worth over $25 million for the Detroit Pistons in 2011 and now the Grizzlies are facing two straight seasons of paying him a $7 million-plus salary.

The veteran star played well for the Grizzlies last season, but as he gets up there in age it will be tough to keep up the production of a player who gets paid that much. The Pistons were happy to trade Prince in the three-team Rudy Gay deal to get rid of the contract and clearly Memphis feels the same way, although the Timberwolves did not take the bait and decided to go with Brewer. The Timberwolves feel they are as talented as anyone in the West and after trading Shabazz Muhammad and getting Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love back, team executive Flip Saunders has high expectations.

The Timberwolves went 31-51 last season while dealing with injuries to Love and Rubio and after adding Martin, Brewer and Turiaf, the roster has depth and coach Rick Adelman is expecting significant improvements. The team is also working on an extension with Nikola Pekovic and early reports have the numbers at around $50 million and four years, although some have reported that it will come in lower than that.

Pekovic is a restricted free agent and could get another offer from a different team, but if the Timberwolves overpay a bit, there is a chance that no one else will try to beat that offer. Prince previously played for Saunders, but that wasn't enough to get a deal done and according to 1500 ESPN, the team was interested in Gerald Henderson from the Bobcats, but instead they signed Kevin Martin to a deal. There also was slight interest in OJ Mayo before he signed with the Bucks and the team also will need to replace center Greg Stiemsma after he signed with the Pelicans.

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