Pekovic, Budinger Top Priorities for Flip
Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations Flip Saunders heads out of town on a late-night shopping spree Sunday with extra cash in his wallet after Andrei Kirilenko on Saturday turned down a $10.2 million salary for next season.
Kirilenko’s agent said his client will not exercise a player option for next season on a two-year, $20 million contract he signed with the Wolves last summer. Instead, he will become a free agent able to sign a multi-year contract with any NBA team, including the Wolves, by letting a midnight Saturday deadline pass. He is believed to be seeking at age 32 at least a new three-year deal.
That means Saunders could have $7 million or more a year to sign the legitimately sized and skilled shooting guard that Thursday’s wild draft did not deliver, in addition to re-signing his own free agents Nikola Pekovic and Chase Budinger.
Saunders calls those two Timberwolves — Pekovic is a restricted free agent, Budinger unrestricted — his top priorities when the NBA’s negotiating period begins at 11:01 p.m. Sunday (Central time). But he is expected to be knocking on other players’ doors at the opening bell, quite possibly on the front porch of Dallas unrestricted free agent O.J. Mayo.
Just don’t ask him where he’s going. This is supposed to be top-secret, spy stuff.
“I’m not saying where I’m going,” Saunders said. “You won’t even find out on my Twitter account anymore.”