The Blazers are rumored to be targeting Timberwolves center Nikola Pekovic and Spurs forward Tiago Splitter.
Pekovic, in his second season as a pro (both with Minnesota), played outstanding. While his team didn’t make the playoffs, he recorded 16.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. In the three meetings against the Blazers last season, he was a killer on the boards, recording an average of 12 rebounds a game.
Splitter, also in his second season as a pro (both with San Antonio), was average to say the least. During the playoffs, he recorded averages of 6.1 points and 3.1 rebounds per game. In his three games against the Blazers last season, he recorded averages of 9 points and 4 rebounds. While he may seem to be producing average stats, he seemed detrimental to the Spurs’ cause against the Miami Heat in the 2013 NBA Finals, constantly committing stupid fouls.
If I as a GM were to pick between these two, Pekovic would be the obvious choice. However, he is a restricted free agent, meaning Minnesota can match any contract he is offered, keeping him for the length of the contract. Executives from Minnesota have been adamant, saying they will match any contract Pekovic is offered. Should they keep their word, it would be a bad idea for Portland to offer a contract. We’ll just have to see if Blazers GM Neil Olshey is willing to take the risk.
Until next time,