No Nic Batum, no problem for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
It was reported on Wednesday by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports that the Timberwolves were close to signing former Utah Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko to a two year, $20 million deal. In the wild NBA offseason, the Wolves have tried to stay active and have been improving the roster.
Kirilenko played last year in Russia, but was a major piece to the Utah Jazz teams between 2001-2011. He has not been on many team’s offseason radar, but Kirilenko has had a decorated NBA career. He was on the All-Rookie First Team in 2002, led the NBA in blocks in 2005, two-time All-NBA Defensive second team, one-time All-NBA Defensive first team and was an All-Star in 2004.
Kirilenko is a nice pickup for the Wolves. He will be the team’s starting small forward if the deal becomes official, and he instantly brings a lot of veteran leadership and defensive presence to the young Wolves squad.
The Wolves weren’t done yet. According to The Associated Press (h/t Des Moines Register), the Wolves traded away Wesley Johnson, to the cheers of many fans. Also in the three-team trade the Wolves traded a first-round pick to Phoenix. In the deal the Wolves received sophomore guard Jerome Dyson, reacquired Brad Miller (yes, the Wolves had him and traded him to the Hornets just 12 days ago) and also acquired two second-round picks from the New Orleans Hornets.
All in one day the Wolves made a big splash. They got rid of the one player fans wanted to get rid of in Wes Johnson and signed a former big name turned big surprise signing in Andrei Kirilenko. The Wolves keep making moves and making strides towards a playoff berth.