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    • 1097 posts
    August 14, 2018 7:36 PM PDT

    MINNEAPOLIS -- Everything about Nikola Pekovic is big. Andrej Sustr Jersey . Big muscles. Big scowl. Big tattoos. Now he has a contract to match. In giving the 27-year-old Pekovic a five-year deal that could be worth more than $60 million with incentives, the Timberwolves are bucking a trend that has started to take over the NBA. While so many other teams are starting to play small ball, the Wolves are going big. Theyve decided to jump on Pekovics broad shoulders and see how far the Montenegrin centre can carry them in a league that is getting smaller and smaller by the day. "A lot of people have asked me about centres in this league and whats happened is theyre almost a dinosaur," Timberwolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders said Friday. "Many teams have gone to stretch-type playing and theyve done that because they dont have the ability to have somebody that they can put down on the block that has the ability to score on the block on a consistent basis. Thats something that Pek can do. With Peks physicality and along with Kevin Love we feel like we have two power players that can really be forces around the basket." The Miami Heat have won two straight titles with undersized Chris Bosh playing the bulk of the minutes at centre. Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman often used 6-foot-6 Chuck Hayes at centre when he coached the Houston Rockets. The Boston Celtics stayed relevant in large part thanks to Kevin Garnetts willingness to move from power forward to centre. In Pekovic, Saunders sees an opportunity to create mismatches against teams that try to go small against them, to punish them in the paint and pound them on the glass with the burly big man and Love, perhaps the leagues best rebounder. "I know the league is getting smaller and many teams in the (centre) position are playing guys from (power forward) ... So Im just happy to be here and be maybe one of the few old-fashioned centres who are going to play in the low post," Pekovic said. "Im just going to keep being that." Saunders called Pekovic one of the top two or three low-post centres in the game, and the numbers would support that. In his third season, he averaged 16.3 points and 8.8 rebounds and shot 52 per cent from the floor while shooting an impressive 74.4 per cent on free throws. Tim Duncan was named All-NBA first team centre during an incredible season for the San Antonio Spurs last year, but his career is entering the twilight phase. That may leave Marc Gasol from Memphis and Houstons Dwight Howard, who isnt as polished in the post but remains a tremendous force, as the other players who could be above Pekovic in the centre pecking order from an offensive standpoint. And despite the trend to go small, three of the four teams in the conference finals last season -- Indiana, San Antonio and Memphis -- had a huge presence in the post. In Minnesota he will team with Love and Ricky Rubio to form the core of what many consider to be an up-and-coming franchise. The Wolves havent made the playoffs since 2004. But if they can stay healthy -- Pekovic has missed 39 games in the last two seasons due to injury and Love only played 18 last year -- they believe that dubious skid will come to an end this year. Pekovic said his goal is to play in all 82 games during the regular season and Saunders said the team is looking at some of its training practices to try and reduce the wear and tear on a players body. Saunders believes Pekovic has trained too much at times and spent too much time in the weight room and that a more efficient program could help him. "I think there has to be a meeting of the minds of getting all people together and really getting a good plan and good format that players are doing the right thing and theyre not over-training parts of their body," Saunders said. Negotiations with Pekovics agent Jeff Schwartz dragged on for about a month and a half before Saunders added the fifth year on Tuesday to get the deal done. All of a sudden, Pekovic had gone from an unknown big man who appeared lost at times during his rookie season to a $60 million centerpiece of a franchises quest for redemption. "My agent asked me when we closed the deal, he asked me how do you feel," Pekovic said. "I said I still dont know. I still feel like unbelievable. I came like three years ago and I was basically not even a backup centre, nothing. I was kind of fighting for my position. ... I know that I was really fighting and pushing for this. Im really happy that all this happened." He also made it clear to Schwartz from the day the market opened on July 1 that he wanted to remain in Minnesota. While many other players have left smaller markets for more glamorous locales, Pekovic has warmed to Minnesotas icy climate and feels at home while fishing on one of the states 10,000 lakes. "People asked me, where do you want to live," Pekovic said. "I dont want to go to a bigger city. I just like it here. I like everything. I know its a little cold in the winter but you just get used (to it.). Its my fourth year here. Im basically a Minneapolis guy." ------ Steven Stamkos Lightning Jersey . Nick Young scored 17 points for Los Angeles, which lost five of its last seven before trouncing the Pelicans, who beat them handily last week in New Orleans. Jodie Meeks and Xavier Henry scored 15 points apiece for the Lakers, who led by 20 points in the first half before coasting to their 12th win in their last 13 regular-season meetings with New Orleans. Steven Stamkos Jersey . Alvarez hit his first career home run, pitched six innings and hurt his right hamstring while running the bases in the Miami Marlins 4-3 win over the Chicago Cubs.DALLAS -- Rich Peverley will not play again this season after collapsing on the bench during a game. Whether the Dallas Stars forward will ever play again wont be known until after more extensive work is done to evaluate his irregular heartbeat. Peverley appeared briefly at a news conference Wednesday, reading nervously from a statement that thanked "the number of people that saved my life" after he went down in the first period of a game against Columbus, stunning players, coaches and fans. The 31-year-old left the questions to doctors who said his season was over and he would undergo a procedure that he decided to put off when his condition was first discovered during a physical before training camp in September. Dr. Robert Dimeff said Peverley was given the option of treating atrial fibrillation, the most common type of heart arrhythmia, with a minor adjustment and medication or missing several months to undergo a more invasive approach. "He said, Im new to the team, its a new coach, a new general manager, I only have a two-year contract, theyve got to know that I can play," Dimeff said of Peverley, who came to the Stars in an off-season trade from the Boston Bruins. "And so we went back and forth. That was a joint decision, an informed decision on his part." Dimeff said Peverleys heart likely raced out of control and then stopped during the game against Columbus on Monday night, but probably for no more than about 10 seconds before medical personnel got it going again in the tunnel behind the Dallas bench at American Airlines Center. The game was postponed. The procedure Peverley skipped in September, called an ablation, will likely be performed within days. When he walked out of the news conference at St. Paul University Hospital, Peverley could be seen wearing a device that a doctor later described as something that monitors his heart rate constantly and can be used to implement corrective measures if the heartbeat gets out of rhythm. Peverley remains hospitalized, but all heart tests have been normal, Dimeff said. "The last couple of days have been a lot of anxiety, a lot of unknown," Stars general manager Jim Nill said. "It turns out that its a great day to walk in here, to see Rich Peverley walking in here." Dimeff said the question of whether its safe for Peverley to play hockey again wasnt one they wanted to address yet. Brayden Point Jersey. Peverley was sidelined through the first game of the regular season after the condition was diagnosed, then played in 60 straight games before complaining of discomfort that caused him to miss a game at Columbus last week. Dimeff said doctors adjusted his medication after last weeks episode, and he played in two more games before his collapse. "This is extremely rare in our sports medicine world," Dimeff said. "We dont think about atrial fibrillation as one of these conditions that leads to more serious rhythms." The Stars have been monitoring Peverleys heart rate in practice, and he had what Dimeff called a "red light-green light" device that the player could use to tell whether his heartbeat was out of rhythm. But the rapid response when he was stricken against the Blue Jackets wasnt because his doctors have always been on high alert during games. The NHL implemented emergency medical procedures after Detroits Jiri Fischer had a similar incident that ended his career in 2005. Fischer, who was 25 when he played his final game and is now the director of player development for the Red Wings, said he exchanged text messages with Peverley on Tuesday night. "Just because on video my cardiac arrest looks like kind of similar to his, that doesnt mean were the same or that well follow the same path," Fischer told The Associated Press. "Hell have to make some decisions -- educated ones based on the advice hell get -- his family." The Stars flew to St. Louis not long after the Columbus game was postponed and beat St. Louis 3-2 in overtime the next night. The bench erupted when Jamie Benns winning goal went in, with the errant stick of one player striking exuberant coach Lindy Ruff in the face. Alex Chiasson didnt make the trip because he was in the same hospital as Peverley after being traumatized by the incident. But Ruff said the 23-year-old forward was back to skating Wednesday and should play Friday night against Calgary in the first home game since Peverleys collapse. "This doesnt go away in one game," Ruff said. "Those emotions that the players will carry forward are going to last for a good period of time." Cheap Ducks Jerseys Cheap Coyotes JerseysCheap Bruins Jerseys Cheap Sabres Jerseys Cheap Flames Jerseys Cheap Hurricanes Jerseys Cheap Blackhawks Jerseys Cheap Avalanche Jerseys Cheap Blue Jackets Jerseys Cheap Stars Jerseys Cheap Red Wings Jerseys Cheap Oilers Jerseys Cheap Florida Panthers Jerseys Cheap Los Angeles Kings Jerseys Cheap Wild Jerseys ' ' '

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