Andrei Kirilenko Rumors
April 19 at 8:51am CST By Luke Adams
The Northwest was one of only two NBA divisions to send just two teams to the postseason, which means the Northwest's other three teams are looking ahead to the offseason. As the Nuggets and Thunder prepare to get their playoff series underway this weekend, here's the latest on the division's lottery teams:
- Trail Blazers GM Neil Olshey will be targeting a draft night trade in which the Blazers give up one or more picks in exchange for a veteran center, according to Jason Quick of the Oregonian. Since Portland won't open up its summer cap space until July, the club wouldn't be able to officially consummate such a trade on draft night, but a handshake agreement could be struck.
- Said Olshey: "If
there is a player under contract that we can absorb into our room on a
team that values a draft pick more than the established player, or they
are moving in a different direction and it moves us forward faster, it's
clearly what we are going to do."
- Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor is waiting to hear whether or not coach Rick Adelman return to the team for next season before deciding on GM David Kahn's future, but for now Kahn is operating as if he'll be back, writes Ray Richardson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Both Adelman and Kahn believe Minnesota needs to add a talented veteran shooting guard and improve its interior defense.
- Kahn is hoping to re-sign restricted free agent Nikola Pekovic and unrestricted free agent Chase Budinger, as well as convincing Andrei Kirilenko to pick up his player option for 2013/14, says Richardson.
- We rounded up a few end-of-season Jazz items last night.
April 13 at 10:23pm CST By Ryan Raroque
Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune believes that several topics of discussion surrounding the Timberwolves are tied to whether or not Rick Adelman decides to return as head coach next season, namely Andrei Kirilenko's $10MM player option as well as the impending free agencies of Nikola Pekovic and Chase Budinger. Another question mark is tied to future of GM David Kahn, as majority team owner Glen Taylor maintains that he is undecided on Kahn's future and has no timetable on a decision. Zgoda has more things to discuss about the team, and you can find the highlights below:
- Kahn seems confident that he'll return for the draft and next season: "Glen and I talk all the time...My sense is that we’ll be working on this for a while.”
- The team hasn't made it a secret that they'd like to keep Pekovic for the long-term, but it remains to be seen if that stance will change should the 6'11 center garner a max contract offer from another team.
- Although a $10MM salary in 2013-14 appears lucrative, Kirilenko - at age 32 - may find it wiser to opt out and seek a three-or-four year contract, which would likely be the last of his NBA career.
- Taylor speaks regularly with Flip Saunders, mostly because the former Timberwolves head coach has been involved with an investment group looking to buy the team. With that being said, their relationship has fueled speculation that Saunders could be among the next in line to be considered for the general manager position if Kahn isn't retained.
- Brandon Roy most likely doesn't have a future in Minnesota, but his salary could still be used to make a trade work around draft time.
- Taylor, who looked to sell the team before the start of this season (preferably to a buyer with Minnesota ties that would keep the team where it is), looks to continue owning the team for the foreseeable future.
- There has been some tension brewing after some comments that Kevin Love made about being unhappy with his contract situation earlier this year, causing some to speculate the 6'10 forward's desire to remain in Minnesota. With that being said, Love denies wanting out, and teammate Derrick Williams is among those who believe him: "I can vouch for my teammates, the people we’re around every single day, and I think he wants to be here...And we want him here. He’s one of the best players in the game. Who wouldn’t want one of the best power forwards in the game and in the world to be on their team?”
March 5 at 1:03pm CST By Luke Adams
Grantland's Zach Lowe has a pair of new pieces up today, publishing a Q&A with Kevin Love to go along with his usual Tuesday column. Both pieces are heavy on Timberwolves items, so let's round up the highlights....
- Love agrees with Lowe that the current T-Wolves roster "definitely looks good on paper," and suggests that getting as many players back and healthy for the last few weeks of the season would be advantageous. "We just have to see if this is the foundation for the future, and
hopefully we can keep all of this team together," Love said. "This is another big
summer, even though we’ve been hearing that same tone every year from
the front office about every summer. But we have to see what we have
- Love believes that Nikola Pekovic is "familiar with something, he kind of sticks with it," so he's optimistic about the Wolves' chances of re-signing the big man this summer.
- Andrei Kirilenko has a player option for next season, but Lowe thinks Kirilenko is likely to opt out in search of a longer-term deal. Something in the neighborhood of three years and $27MM could work for both Kirilenko and the Wolves, according to Lowe.
- If the Wolves re-sign Kirilenko to a multiyear deal and bring back Pekovic at an eight-figure annual salary, the team will be capped out until Love's contract expires, writes Lowe. That means the club will essentially have to decide this summer whether or not the current core is the long-term answer.
February 22 at 3:39pm CST By Luke Adams
So far, the responses to this morning's poll suggest that, outside of the Hawks' decision to keep Josh Smith, no team's inactivity at the deadline was more surprising than Utah's. In Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson, the Jazz had a pair of productive bigs on expiring contracts, and the expectation was that at least one of the two would be moved. However, GM Dennis Lindsey told reporters, including Jody Genessy of the Deseret News, that he felt the club was negotiating from a position of strength, and wasn't under any pressure to make a deal.
Here's more and the Jazz and a few of their Northwest Division rivals:
- "We really didn't even have any tough decisions," Lindsey said of deadline day, according to Genessy. "When we added it up, there wasn't anything that was better than what we
- With the deadline behind them, Millsap and Jefferson are looking forward to finishing out the season in Utah, writes Steve Luhm of the Salt Lake Tribune.
- Speaking to Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune, Andrei Kirilenko says he's enjoying everything about his time with the Timberwolves except for the team's win-loss record. The Russian forward has yet to make a decision about his player option for next season. "I’m going to wait until the offseason, right now there’s no point to make any decision," Kirilenko said. "Wait until summer, analyze the season, and see what you want to do next."
- Glen Taylor's talks with prospective owners for the Timberwolves have "slowed considerably," a source tells Charley Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (Twitter link).
- Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post discusses the Nuggets' decision to let the deadline pass without making a deal.
February 20 at 10:59am CST By Luke Adams
Here's the latest on the Timberwolves from Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities....
- General manager David Kahn isn't convinced he'll be able to make a deal by tomorrow's deadline, but it won't be from lack of trying, says Wolfson. The T-Wolves have made Luke Ridnour, J.J. Barea, Derrick Williams, and Brandon Roy available as they explore trade options.
- The Wolves have received more calls about Andrei Kirilenko than anyone else, but the club won't move the Russian forward, barring a "too-good-to-be-true offer."
- Minnesota's top priority is a wing player with size. The team reached out to the Mavericks about O.J. Mayo, but was rebuffed, according to Wolfson.
- The Wolves like Timofey Mozgov and view him as a good value in free agency this summer, but are unlikely to reach a compromise on a trade with the Nuggets.
- To acquire J.J. Redick or Avery Bradley, the Wolves would have to give up Williams and a first-round pick, according to Wolfson. That's not happening for Bradley and is very unlikely for Redick.
- Rick Adelman and the Wolves like Courtney Lee and are keeping an eye on him, but they didn't want to offer four years in free agency last summer, so the contract could bother them.
- Adelman told season ticket holders that the Wolves' goal is to re-sign Nikola Pekovic this summer. However, some team sources aren't sure Pekovic is worth $11MM annually, and question his ability to stay healthy, says Wolfson.
January 28 at 10:01pm CST By Alex Lee
With seven NBA games on the docket for Monday night, here are some odds and ends from around the Association:
- J.J. Redick has made Orlando his home and hopes to stay, he told Michael Scotto of RealGM. But Redick also realizes that trade speculation is inevitable and therefore has stayed in close contact with his agent and the Magic general manager Rob Hennigan.
- Ben Golliver of Blazers Edge provides a transcript of an interview of Neil Olshey in which the Blazers GM discusses his team's roster and potential future moves.
- Andrei Kirilenko handpicked Minnesota as his destination this offseason because he found the roster intriguing as well as conducive to his game. Unfortunately, due to the Timberwolves' long list of injuries, Kirilenko has yet to find out if his vision was as good as it seemed this offseason, writes Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today.
- Danny Ainge said that he fully expect Rajon Rondo to be ready for training camp come October, tweets Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe. How realistic that truly is will go a long way in determining the Celtics' next move.
- Despite sitting at 15-30 and in last place in the Pacific division, the Suns have a reason for optimism in Goran Dragic, writes Derek Page of HoopsWorld. Dragic, Page says, is the most important piece of Phoenix's rebuilding plans.
- We've already heard that Marreese Speights could be moved before the trade deadline despite rumors that the Cavaliers have coveted him for years. The Plain Dealer rounds up some Speights-related buzz, linking to a Sam Amico article that says whether the team keeps Speights depends on whether it can do so without sacrificing its financial flexibility. Amico, of Fox Sports Ohio, says that Speights will likely opt out of his deal after the season and seek a payday.
- Sean Deveney of Sporting News addresses several popular rumors that are floating around the NBA of late, the most notable of which include Rudy Gay, Paul Pierce and Pau Gasol.
January 23 at 8:43am CST By Luke Adams
When the NBA lockout ended a little more than a year ago, most marquee players who had been on teams overseas quickly returned stateside, but Andrei Kirilenko remained with CSKA Moscow for the season. Now that he's back in the NBA with the Timberwolves, Kirilenko doesn't anticipate returning overseas anytime soon, and expects to pick up his 2013/14 player option to remain in Minnesota, according to Lang Greene of HoopsWorld.
"I’m going to stay in the NBA for sure," Kirilenko said. "There is no doubt about it. I like Minnesota and I like [T-Wolves coach]
Kirilenko, 31, has excelled in his return to the NBA, and has been essential in Minnesota as one of the few Wolves starters to stay healthy for most of the season. The Russian forward's averages of 13.6 PPG, 6,9 RPG, 35.0 MPG, and 18.6 PER are all his best marks since the 2005/06 campaign.
It's probably too early to consider Kirilenko a lock to exercise that $10.22MM second-year option, since the lure of a long-term deal could change his mind before July. But assuming he decides not to opt out, it figures to affect the Timberwolves' approach this summer. If the team retains Greg Stiemsma and Dante Cunningham, both on non-guaranteed deals, and hopes to re-sign Nikola Pekovic, there won't be any cap space left over to make a run at a significant free agent.
January 18 at 11:40am CST By Luke Adams
Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities reported yesterday that the Timberwolves are "heavily" shopping Derrick Williams, 2011's second overall pick. In his latest Scoops column, Wolfson shares a few more details on the T-Wolves' trade talks, plus a handful more Wolves-related notes. Let's dive in and round up the highlights....
- Within the last week, president David Kahn has transitioned from merely taking phone calls to making them himself. According to Wolfson, Kahn was "aggressively" working the phones this week and was making some progress on a trade. Such a deal would likely involve Williams, and would net Minnesota a big, rather than a wing.
- The T-Wolves don't have interest in Portland's J.J. Hickson or Atlanta's Josh Smith.
- Minnesota is still weighing whether it makes sense to pursue Rudy Gay. If the Wolves were to make an offer for Gay, it would likely have to include a third team, and would involve Nikola Pekovic.
- Brandon Roy's contract may be included in a trade at the deadline for salary purposes.
- The Lakers recently inquired on Dante Cunningham, but Cunningham's affordable salary makes the Wolves reluctant to part with him.
- According to Wolfson, interest in buying the T-Wolves is "as high as ever." Former Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley, who confirmed yesterday he has interest in buying another NBA franchise, is said to be kicking the tires on the Wolves.
- There's no word yet on whether Andrei Kirilenko is leaning one way or the other on his $10.22MM player option for 2013/14.
- Minnesota didn't apply for a disabled player exception for Malcolm Lee. As Chuck Myron of Hoops Rumors wrote on Monday, such an exception wouldn't have provided much flexibility for the club.
- According to Wolfson, there's some speculation that the Wolves would like to take over basketball operations of their D-League affiliate in Sioux Falls. The Skyforce are currently affiliated with the Heat, Magic, and Sixers, as well as the Wolves.
- While it's been presumed for some time that Minnesota would be among the clubs interested in Greg Oden, the team hasn't done due diligence on him so far, like some others have.
January 5 at 8:21pm CST By Michael Pina
When the Minnesota Timberwolves signed Andrei Kirilenko to a two-year, $20MM contract last summer, they figured they would be adding him as a complimentary sidekick for Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio (upon his return from a knee injury).
Instead, Kirilenko has emerged as perhaps the team's best overall player, defending the opposition's best perimeter threat on a nightly basis while facilitating Rick Adelman's cut-and-move happy offense with fortuitous passing and a masterful understanding of angles and spacing.
He's averaging 13.1PPG (his most since 2005/06) on a career best 51.5% shooting from the floor, and his blocks, steals, and assists are all around his career averages.
But even though he's playing so well, Kirilenko is 31 years old with a $10.2MM player option on his contract next season. It's probable he seeks a long term deal, and it wouldn't surprise anyone to see him opt out of his current contract and force the Timberwolves to either sign him to a multiple year deal (not likely) or lose him for nothing.
Kirilenko wouldn't be on the hypothetical trading block if it weren't for the recent news that Love broke his right hand for the second time this season. With Minnesota's All-Star out of the lineup for who knows how long (Love will see a hand doctor in New York City next week to determine if surgery is necessary) the Timberwolves could seriously struggle.
It could potentially turn them from a buyer into a seller, as they fall from the playoff picture (as of January 5, the Lakers, Jazz, and Mavericks all trail Minnesota in the Western Conference standings).
One possible suitor might be the Oklahoma City Thunder, who could dangle Toronto's top three protected lottery pick in Minnesota general manager David Kahn's face. It would allow the Timberwolves to get a high draft pick and give them more flexibility moving forward. Kirilenko is playing some of the best basketball of his career right now, but moving him when his value is high might be the smartest options the Timberwolves have.
November 23 at 4:45pm CST By Luke Adams
It's Friday afternoon, which means, even on Thanksgiving weekend, Marc Stein has published his Weekend Dime on ESPN.com. Let's dive right into the highlights from this week's column....
- Stein asked executives from five teams about Andrew Bynum's health issues and how they'd affect his contract offers next summer. One GM, noting that the NBA is a "desperate league," pointed to max offers this past offseason for Eric Gordon and Brook Lopez and said Bynum should still land a maximum-salary contract, even considering his knee problems. Other execs weren't so sure though, with one suggesting Bynum could count on "maybe a one- or two-year (max offer). You won't be able to get insurance coverage on his knees."
- While some pundits panned the Knicks this summer for adding so many aging veteran players, Carmelo Anthony wasn't among the critics. In Carmelo's view, players like Marcus Camby, Rasheed Wallace, and Kurt Thomas are helping him improve. "I have no complaints," Anthony said. "What our front office did this
offseason, acquiring those guys we did, I have no complaints about that."
- China's Foshan Dralions aggressively pursued Eddy Curry after he was waived by the Mavericks, but Curry turned them down in hopes of landing an NBA roster spot.
- Israeli point guard Gal Mekel, who drew offseason interest from the Jazz, is playing in Israel this season, but hopes to earn a spot on an NBA team next season with a strong summer league performance.
- Andrei Kirilenko tells Stein that while there was a possibility he remained in Russia for more than one season, he only returned there because of the NBA lockout, and his plan always involved returning to the NBA.