MINNEAPOLIS -- Everything about Nikola Pekovic is big. 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." ------Comprar Adidas Falcon baratas . Vaives lawyer Trevor Whiffen claims the former 50-goal man wasnt provided with a copy of the claim beforehand and that he would not have agreed to the allegations made against the NHL had he been asked to review its contents. Adidas NMD R1 España . A knee to the thigh might have stung him the most, but his sixth straight double-double made up for the brief burst of pain. http://www.baratasnmd.com/adidas-gsg-baratas.html . -- Matt Rupert scored once in regulation and again in the shootout as the London Knights extended their win streak to nine games by defeating the Owen Sound Attack 4-3 on Friday in Ontario Hockey League action. Adidas Gazelle Hombre Baratas . -- Teemu Selanne scored the first goal of his 22nd NHL season, and the Anaheim Ducks extended the best start in franchise history with their fifth straight victory, 3-2 over the Calgary Flames on Wednesday night. Adidas NMD Rebajas . 1 position. The Mustangs (6-0), who beat Queens 50-31 last weekend, earned 17 first-place votes and 287 points in voting by the Football Reporters of Canada. Western was last ranked first in the country in October 2011.It was quite mysterious how the giant global racing and breeding establishment Coolmore demanded the names of their horses that went into quarantine in Ireland last Wednesday were not released publicly. Not even Racing Victoria were allowed to utter them.It seems, though, that Coolmore may just have been buying themselves more time to decide exactly in which directions they would head with their highly successful troupe of international contenders.The release of the second acceptances -- one of a five-stage process of nomination before actually making the final field -- for the $3.15 million BMW Caulfield Cup and $3 million Cox Plate brought some more clarity to the international participation in this years carnival.Four horses remain on the Coolmore list of possible Melbourne-bound runners, while two slightly lesser lights were not included in the second acceptances submitted; Group II winner Idaho, who unseated his rider in the English St Leger Stakes earlier in September, and third placegetter in that same race Housesofparliament were not among the acceptances.It was quite mysterious how the giant global racing and breeding establishment Coolmore demanded the names of their horses that went into quarantine in Ireland last Wednesday were not released publicly. Not even Racing Victoria were allowed to utter them.It seems, though, that Coolmore may just have been buying themselves more time to decide exactly in which directions they would head with their highly successful troupe of international contenders.The release of the second acceptances -- one of a five-stage process of nomination before actually making the final field -- for the $3.15 million BMW Caulfield Cup and $3 million Cox Plate brought some more clarity to the international participation in this years carnival.Four horses remain on the Coolmore list of possible Melbourne-bound runners, while two slightly lesser lights were not included in the second acceptances submitted; Group II winner Idaho, who unseated his rider in the English St Leger Stakes earlier in September, and third placegetter in that same race Housesofparliament were not among the acceptances.Of the ones still on their list, we look at where they currently fit in the feature race outlook:HIGHLAND REEL (IRE) -- (Trainer: Aidan OBrien)Last start: 10/9/16 - 7th Group I Irish Champion Stakes, 2000m at Leopardstown (IRE)Last win: 23/7/16 - 1st Group I King George & Queen Elizabeth Stakes, 2400m at Ascot (UK)Highland Reel ran third in the 2015 Cox Plate, finishing more than five lengths behind Winx, since when he has shown himself to be a very adept 2400 metres performer in winning the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase in December, over the very smart French-trained Flintshire, and added another at the highest level at Ascot in June.The feedback after the 2015 Cox Plate from the stables travelling staff was that Highland Reel didnt quite handle the tight-turning Valley course but still returned a much better result than many track-watchers had predicted. As top weight with 58kg for this years Caulfield Cup, the consistently turning Caulfield circuit could present a similar issue.Either way, Highland Reel will be at home over the mile-and-a-half trip and is one of the five equal favourites with UBET for the event at $15.BONDI BEACH (IRE) -- (Trainer: Aidan OBrien)Last start: 10/9/16 - 3rd Group 3 Enterprise Stakes, 2400m at Leopardstown (IRE)Last win: 15/5/16 - 1st Group 3 Vintage Crop Stakes, 2400m at Navan (IRE)Yet to win at Group 1 level, Bondi Beach is partly owned by four-time Melbourne Cup-winning owner Lloyd Williams.This will be this four-year-olds second visit to Melbourne. In 2015 he finished 16th but less than seven lengths behind Prince Of Penzanze in that most famous of Melbourne Cups.UBET rate Bondi Beach a $31 chance for the Caulfield Cup and he is well in the race with 55kg. He seemed a rather easy horse to dismiss as a winning chance in 2015, but his Australian racing experience means he could be a much better conveyance in returning to familiar surroundings in 2016.ORDER OF ST GEORGE (IRE) -- (Trainer: Aidan OBrien)Last start: 11/9/16 - 2nd Group I Irish St Leger, 2800m at The Curragh (IRE)Last win: 20/8/16 - 1st Group III Irish St Leger Trial, 2800m at The Curragh (IRE)The 2015 Irish St Leger and 2016 Ascot Gold Cup winner has had Melbourne on his radar for some time, helped along somewhat by his being part-owned by Lloyd Williams.Order Of St George has been allocated 58kg for the Caullfield Cup, equal-top weight with Highland Reel, but Williams told Sky Sports Radio there was a 95 percent chance the galloper would instead head to France to run in the Group 1 Prix de lArc de Triomphe (2400m) at Chantilly on 2 October; that would then rule him out of making the trip to Melbourne.ddddddddddddWilliams said the Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate options were kept open in case the seven-time winning four-year-old faces soft conditions in France. So, the Coolmore team wont be looking to the skies for inspiration but for something more obvious - the weather.SIR ISAAC NEWTON (IRE) -- (Trainer: Aidan OBrien)Last start: 10/9/16 - 10th Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes, 2000m at Leopardstown (IRE)Last win: 26/6/16 - 1st Group 3 International Stakes, 2000m at The Curragh (IRE)Competing in most of his races over 2000 metres, Sir Isaac Newton has been allocated 54.5kg in the Caulfield Cup for his win in the International Stakes having previously defeated Godolphins Second Wave -- who is also making the trip to Melbourne -- in the Listed Wolverton Handicap (2000m) at Royal Ascot in June.While Coolmore are correct to have a high opinion of this four-year-old by their champion stallion Galileo, he may want to find quite a few lengths before the Melbourne feature race days if hell be earning Aiden OBrien another of Australias most sought-after trophies.UBET Market UpdateMelbourne CupOur Melbourne Cup market has been adjusted more than a few times in the past week after a shock victory in the Irish St Leger, the unveiling of the weights, and several leading international contenders pulling the pin. As it stands, Wicklow Brave, from the powerful Willie Mullins stable, is the outright $15 favourite having leaped into calculations with a storming win in the Irish St Leger over former cup favourite Order Of St George and 2015 Melbourne and Caulfield Cup placegetter Trip To Paris. Prior to his victory in the final Irish classic of the season, Wicklow Brave was rated $35 to take out the race that stops the nation. Ascot Gold Cup winner Order Of St George had headed the Cup Futures for months, but he was ruled out of travelling to Australia and will instead head to France to contest the Prix de lArc de Triomphe. 2014 Melbourne Cup champion Protectionist is also doubtful to make the trip. As a result, the Aiden OBrien-trained colt Idaho has been promoted to the second line of betting at $17, alongside top Australian contender Signoff, who was fourth in the great race in 2014 and absent from the 2015 edition due to a leg injury. After opening at $41, the Darren Weir stayer has been backed and backed all year, including one wager of $1000 at $41, and is, by the length of the Flemington straight, the worst result for the UBET fixed odds team. Money has also for Japanese hope Carren Mirotic -- $36 into $19 -- who was beaten a lip in the recent Group 1 Tenno Sho. Gun hoop Tommy Berry has been booked to ride Curren Mirotic, who easily accounted for Fame Game, last years top Melbourne Cup fancy, in the vaunted spring feature.Click here for?UBETs Melbourne Cup market.Caulfield CupAs for the Caulfield Cup, the big mover has been Exosphere, no relation to the recently retired Godolphin colt by the same name. Recently purchased from European giant Juddmonte by a Melbourne-based syndicate who intend to aim him at the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups, the five-year-old stallion has been backed in from $51 to $15 co-favouritism. Given the interest, and the fact hell be trained by cups legend Lee Freedman, our traders will be keeping Exosphere very safe. He beat UK St Leger winner Simple Verse by four lengths and Big Orange, who ran fifth in the 2015 Melbourne Cup, by nine lengths, in the Group 2 Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket so hes a serious horse. Fellow import Hartnell, who blew them away in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes, is also $15, in from $26 prior to the slashing seven and three-quarter length win, alongside well-travelled Irish stayer Highland Reel, Godolphin four-year-old Scottish and the best credentialed Australian horse, ATC Derby runner-up Jameka, from the Ciaron Maher camp. Mick Kent stallion Tarzino, well below his best thus far this preparation, is the best backed runner at $17, although most of that investment came in March after his Group 1 Rosehill Guineas win.Click here for?UBETs Caulfield Cup market. ' ' '