The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced the signing of free-agent forward Andrei Kirilenko.
"We are pleased that Andrei has decided to resume his NBA career with the Minnesota Timberwolves," said David Kahn, Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations. "Over his time in the NBA he has proven to be one of the best defensive players in the world. His ability to play multiple positions and big-game experience will be wonderful assets to our team."
The Timberwolves have made significant efforts this offseason to overhaul their personnel at the 3. First, Minnesota let Michael Beasley walk in a free agent deal to Phoenix. Then the T-Wolves today traded former lottery pick Wesley Johnson to the Suns for draft picks.
Minnesota also signed restricted free agent Nicolas Batum to an offer sheet in an effort to upgrade the position, but the Portland Trailblazers were able to retain his services by matching the offer.
In Kirilenko, Minnesota added athleticism, energy, and terrific weakside shotblocking to a young team hungry to escape the lottery. Kirilenko is also versatile enough defensively to guard certain 2's and 4's. Offensively, Kirilenko's hustle and decent three-point shooting also should provide a boost to the team.
"I'm excited to be returning to the NBA with the Minnesota Timberwolves," Kirilenko said. "The Wolves have one of the best coaches in the league in Rick Adelman and I feel my game fits in well with his style of play. I also like the talent that Minnesota has on the team with star players like Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio."
Kirilenko, 31, has played 10 seasons in the NBA, all with the Utah Jazz. He has career averages of 12.4 points (.470 FG, .312 3FG, .763 FT), 5.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.4 steals and 2 blocks in 30.8 minutes per game.
A three-time NBA All-Defensive Team selection, Kirilenko led the NBA in blocked shots during the 2004-05 season (3.32 bpg - a career high).
Kirilenko spent the 2011-12 season in Russia playing for CSKA Moscow, where he teamed up with current Timberwolves guard Alexey Shved. In 17 Euroleague games, Kirilenko averaged 14.1 points on .598 shooting (.417 from three), to go along with 7.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.9 blocks. He was named 2012 Euroleague MVP and 2012 Euroleague Best Defender for his efforts.
By Staff of The Daily Sports Herald and news services