Minnesota Timberwolves: Are Roy and Kirlenko Good Enough for Kevin Love?

Chris SchadContributor IIIJuly 26, 2012

Mar 16, 2011; Salt Lake City, UT, USA;  Utah Jazz small forward Andrei Kirilenko (47) during a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at EnergySolutions Arena. The Jazz won 119-104.  Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-US PRESSWIRE
Russ Isabella-US PRESSWIRE

The Minnesota Timberwolves currently find themselves in a situation that befuddles every small market team with a superstar player in the National Basketball Association.

After playing with high level teammates on the United States Olympic team, Kevin Love demanded that the Minnesota Timberwolves construct something similar. If the Timberwolves fail to do so, Love will want out of Minnesota.

With that, it's a given that if the Timberwolves don't make the playoffs, things will get ugly and possibly lead to a trade.

That put the microscope on vice president of basketball operations David Kahn, who started free-agency with a flurry, but was hung up by a drawn out process trying to obtain restricted free-agent Nicolas Batum.

Since then, many of the Timberwolves' options including Courtney Lee, O.J. Mayo, and Jordan Hill have decided to go elsewhere. That has left Kahn and the Timberwolves in a bit of a panic mode over the past couple weeks to try and obtain somebody to help Love out.

Fast forward to today and it looks like the Timberwolves plan for this offseason may have finally played out.

According to several sources, the Timberwolves have agreed on a two-year, $20 million contract with Russian forward Andrei Kirelinko. This move comes one day after the team cleared salary cap space by dealing Wes Johnson and a first round pick to the Phoenix Suns.

Along with Kirilenko, the Wolves added guard Brandon Roy who is coming back after a one-year stint in retirement.

This means that the Timberwolves now have a starting lineup of Nikola Pekovic, Love, Kirilenko, Roy, and Ricky Rubio (who may not be ready at the beginning of the season as he recovers from a torn ACL).

Looking at the roster, it has a lot of potential to be better than the teams the Timberwolves have thrown out on the court in the past couple seasons. However, with Kirilenko and Roy on the wrong side of 30, one has to wonder if these moves will be enough to get the Timberwolves over the hump.

The time is now to get the Timberwolves to the playoffs. In addition to Love, head coach Rick Adelman was not hired to coach a rebuilding project. If Roy and Kirilenko can play like they're capable, the playoffs may not seem like such a pipe dream.

If Roy and Kirilenko falter, the Kevin Love era in Minnesota may end sooner than anybody else anticipated.