Minnesota’s Moves May be Telling

Some interesting developments have taken place today in Minnesota.

The Wolves have agreed to terms with two centers: free agent Darko Milicic and 2008 second-round draft pick Nikola Pekovic.

Milicic agreed to a rather eye-popping 4-year, $20 million contract. Just five months ago, the seven-footer wasn’t getting any floor time, and was seriously contemplating giving up on the NBA to return to Europe. Pekovic has a verbal agreement in place on a 3-year, $13 million contract. He has played for Greek powerhouse Panathinaikos for the past two seasons, staking his claim as one of the best centers not in the NBA. The deal, as reported, could be the most lucrative rookie contract for a second-round pick in NBA history, though it doesn’t seem particularly unreasonable. In fact, it seems very much like a bargain.

In and of themselves, these additions are of no particular interest in South Florida. When combined, however, they are sure to raise an eyebrow or two.

Wolves general manager David Kahn has a strong interest in Michael Beasley. In fact, Kahn confirmed on Sunday that he had previously contacted the Heat about trading for Beasley. The deal would have sent Beasley to the Wolves in exchange for Ryan Gomes.

The Wolves entered free agency with as much as $16.4 of available cap space at current salary cap projections. If we assume the first year salaries for Milicic and Pekovic are $4.3 million and $4.0 million, respectively (based on the max annual raises for which they would be eligible), Minnesota will have reduced its total cap space to $8.1 million. We can subtract $2.8 million from that to account for the cap hold associated with its draft rights to Ricky Rubio. That gets us to available and unencumbered cap space of approximately $5.3 million.

Michael Beasley is set to make $5.0 million.

Is it possible that Minnesota is saving up just enough money to take on Beasley? Is it possible that a deal with Pat Riley and the Heat is already in place?

7 Responses

  1. Heat-Struck says:

    I was thinking the same thing! I posted a comment on Ira’s blog about it… but everyone seemed to ignore it. Too much emotion on that blog right now.

    This makes perfect sense. We can give Toronto their $16 mil TPE they want, Bosh gets his 6 year max contract, we give Beasley to Minnesota for free, then we have enough money to give Lebron his 5 year max contract.

    Funny how Toronto just recently signed Amir Johnson to a multi-year contract. Looks like they’ll use Amir to replace Bosh in the lineup… I think they also want to make Bargnani a PF, so maybe they could use the TPE on someone like Al Jefferson.

    This needs to go down tonight!!! We need to go into the Lebron meeting with both Bosh and Wade in place.

  2. Julian says:

    Who would Minnesota be sending us in a trade for beasley?

  3. Julian says:

    And dont we also need to get rid of chalmers to be able to offer the max to CB4 DWADE and LBJ? Would he be included in a 3-way deal for bosh?

  4. Albert says:

    Whether such a trade is being discussed is pure speculation. However, I would imagine the Heat would be willing to accept nothing in return if it already had commitments in place from both James and Bosh on long-term contracts.

  5. Remote Heat fan says:

    I think they would have to receive something. That something could be a future 2nd rounder 🙂

  6. Albert says:

    @Remote Heat fan
    As the Wolves would possess the required cap space, nothing of substance would need to be returned.

    The league does require that something be returned to each team in any trade. It could be as little as a Top-55 protected second round draft pick which ultimately turns into nothing at all. But, as this is Beasley we’re speaking of, something somewhat substantial should reasonably be returned. Hopefully, the Heat can extract a future lottery-protected first round draft pick.

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