Timberwolves Sign Andrei Kirilenko

FRIDAY, 12:31pm: Having finalized the trade that removed Johnson's salary from their books, the Timberwolves have officially announced the signing of Kirilenko (Twitter link).

WEDNESDAY, 4:51pm: The Timberwolves are "finalizing" a two-year, $20MM contract agreement with Andrei Kirilenko, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (via Twitter). The second year of the deal is expected to be a player option, adds Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

Minnesota is putting the finishing touches on a three-team trade with the Suns and Hornets that will allow the team to clear Wesley Johnson's $4.29MM salary from its books, creating the necessary cap space for Kirilenko. The terms of Kirilenko's deal appear to be a bit higher than originally thought, making him an even tighter fit, as we examined earlier. It seemed as though the Wolves could only afford about an $8MM first-year salary for Kirilenko, but it's possible they could clear additional room by adding players to the three-team trade.

The 31-year-old Kirilenko has averaged 12.4 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game in 10 NBA seasons, all with the Jazz. The Russian forward, who spent 2011/12 with CSKA Moscow, had drawn interest from the Nets and Warriors, but neither team had the capability to come close to a $10MM annual salary. The Nets were limited to giving him the veteran's minimum, while the Warriors are reluctant to use the full mid-level exception, since doing so would push them over the taxpaying threshold.

For the Wolves, the move gives them the sort of long-armed forward they missed out on when the Blazers matched the offer sheet to Nicolas Batum. Though the 6'9" Kirilenko is older, he comes on a much shorter deal and solidifies the team's status as a contender for a playoff spot, answering Kevin Love's recent appeal for a more competitive team.

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