According to a recent Yahoo Sports report, the Minnesota Timberwolves are set to sign former Utah Jazz forward “AK-47″ Andrei Kirilenko to a 2-year, $20 million dollar deal.
A recent 3 team trade involving Minnesota, New Orleans and Phoenix that sent guard Wes Johnson to the Suns will allow the Wolves to clear enough space to sign Kirilenko to a deal.
Kirilenko spent last season playing in Russia for CSKA Moscow. He was named the 2012 Euroleague MVP after averaging 14.1 points and 7.5 rebounds.
Grade for Timberwolves: C -
I’ve always been a fan of Andrei Kirilenko’s game, but I feel that his best days may be behind him.
His best year in the NBA was back in 2003 when he averaged 16.5 points, 8.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 2.8 blocks and 1.9 steals for the Utah Jazz.
Since then, his career has been on a downward slope of productivity.
Andrei also has a history of injuries that could very well be in direct correlation with his decrease in numbers. Kirilenko missed 15 or more games in each of his last 3 seasons with the Jazz.
On top of that, don’t the Wolves already have a pair of small forwards on the roster in Derrick Williams and the newly acquired Chase Budinger? How is all of the playing time going to be distributed?
Andrei is 6’9 and could play at the 4 spot of need be, but I’m not so sure he has the size and girth to guard some of the stronger power forwards around the league.
On the bright side, AK47 did show enough last year with CSKA Moscow to warrant another chance in the NBA. It was being led on that the Brooklyn Nets were the heavy favourites to land Kirilenko, but they could only offer the veteran’s minimum of $1.2 million. He’s clearly getting a much better deal with the Timberwolves.
$10 million a year does seem like quite a bit of money for a 31 year-old with an injury-filled past though.
Money is always an enticing thing, but Andrei was probably better served staying in Russia and being a star there.
I guess this just goes to show that David Kahn is not the least bit confident in former #2 overall pick Derrick Williams.
Christopher Walder is a sports blogger and lead editor for Sir Charles in Charge. You may follow him on Twitter @WalderSports