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How Nikola Pekovic's $60 million deal impacts Pistons, Greg Monroe

The Minnesota big man just help set the expectations going into extension talks with Greg Monroe.

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

After weeks of negotiations, restricted free agent Nikola Pekovic has signed a five-year, $60 million extension with as much as $8 million in incentives, according to multiple reports.

The deal ends a standoff between the Timberwolves and the big man, with the organization offering four years and $48 million while the player was looking for upwards of $15 million per season.

The deal also is an important development for Detroit Pistons fans as it helps set the stage for future negotiations between Greg Monroe and the team next offseason when the skilled big man enters restricted free agency himself.

The production of the two offensively skilled players is reasonably comparable through the first three seasons of their respective careers.

Looking at Per 36 production and some efficiency numbers:

Player Nikola Pekovic Greg Monroe
Points 17.7 15.8
Rebounds 9.5 10.4
Blocks 1.0 0.8
Assists 1.0 2.8
Steals 0.8 1.4
TRB% 14.9 17.1
TS% 58.3 55.0
eFG 53.3 51.2
WS/48 .138 .134

I'd says it's pretty obvious at this point in their careers that Monroe is the superior player. He doesn't have the brute post strength of Pekovic but he's a much more multi-faceted player on offense and neither shines defensively. Add that to the fact that Monroe is 23 compared to the 27-year-old Pekovic and I'd say that the deal with Minnesota effectively establishes the salary floor that the Pistons can reasonably expect to pay.

The ceiling, meanwhile, is probably still Roy Hibbert, who signed a maximum offer sheet with the Portland Trail Blazers for four years and $58 million that the Indiana Pacers eventually matched.

That means Moose can command anywhere between $12 million and $14.5 million per year for four to five years. I'd be shocked if he signed for less than $13 million per given those realities and hopefully he can be had for less if the team puts a fifth year on the dotted line.

Are the Pistons willing to make that type of commitment considering they owe $13.5 million to Josh Smith for the next four years and Andre Drummond will command $15 to $16 million per season when he is up for an extension?

They better be because with each new big man who signs a contract it becomes more and more apparent just how valuable Greg Monroe really is.

Besides, Minnesota is another good test case for what the Pistons are setting themselves up for. They were the Pistons before the Pistons, and, in fact, are probably in an even tighter fiscal box than Detroit.

Kevin Love is already in the midst of a huge $15.5 million per year deal, they just shelled out money for Pek and they've already assured fans (if you choose to believe them) that it will not adversely impact the team's ability to keep Ricky Rubio in the fold, who is up for an extension as early as 2015-16.