Questions Abound After Another Playoff-less Wolves Season
The Wolves are facing a lot of choices when they begin to officially turn the calendar to next season.
With superstar Kevin Love missing a majority of the season and point guard Ricky Rubio needed almost as many games to recover from a knee injury suffered last season, the Wolves finished 2012-13 with a 31-51 record.
Love should return next year healthier than ever after having hand and knee surgeries in the waning days of the season. Rubio faded a bit down the stretch but showed enough flashes of brilliance throughout the last month of the season to lead one to believe he will be full strength next year as well.
Perhaps the biggest question is whether or not Rick Adelman will return as head coach. It’s his decision to make, and Adelman has been quoted as saying he would decide sooner than later. It’s no secret that his wife’s health is a concern for Adelman, who missed some time earlier this season to be with her.
Here is a rough sketch of the history of the center postion in Timberwolves history: Randy Breuer, Luc Longley, Stoijko Vrankovic, Dean Garrett, Oliver Miller, Stanley Roberts, Rasho Nesterovic, Al Jefferson. It’s not pretty.
The Wolves will have to pay up if they want to keep the best center in team history for next year and beyond. Nikola Pekovic had a breakout season in 2012-13, averaging a team-high 16.2 points per game, 8.8 rebounds a game and shooting 52% from the floor.
With Darko Milicic, Josh Howard, Lou Amundson, Brandon Roy and a handful of role players off the books, the Wolves should come in $17-20 million under the cap for next season at $52 million, according to USA Today’s Hoops Hype site’s salary info.
The Wolves need to give Pekovic a lion’s share of whatever funds they have available. A ‘big three’ of Rubio, Love and Pek is a very solid core: A big man inside that can grab boards and is automatic in the paint in Pekovic, a dynamic shooter and rebounder in Love, and a dynamic point guard that can find the big guys inside in Rubio.
The T-Wolves also will have to apparently wait and see if Chase Budinger and Andrei Kirilenko are going to return to Target Center for sophomore seasons. Kirilenko has a $10 million dollar player option for next season and has yet to decide if he will exercise it. It may take a multi-year contract extension to get him back to Minnesota.
Budinger has made no secret of his desire to have Adelman back at the helm. With Adelman expected to make his decision soon, as noted above, we likely will know Budinger’s fate soon as well.