Timberwolves' Andrei Kirilenko chooses to become a free agent
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Minnesota Timberwolves forward Andrei Kirilenko has opted to enter the open market.
With the deadline to decide whether or not to take a $10.2 million option with the Wolves upon him, Kirilenko has elected to become a free agent, a source told KSTP-TV producer and 1500ESPN.com contributor Darren Wolfson.
Kirilenko, who is reportedly in search of a three or four-year contract, could still rejoin the Wolves, but is now an unrestricted free agent.
In his one season with the Wolves, Kirilenko was the team's third leading scorer, averaging 12.4 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.
Wolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders had refrained from any direct comments in the last few weeks about what he expected Kirilenko to do. But the Wolves' move to pick up UCLA small forward Shabazz Muhammad with the No. 14 pick in Thursday's NBA Draft may have been an early indication that Saunders didn't anticipate Kirilenko's return.
Saunders next task is dealing with free agency and attempting to re-sign restricted free agent Nikola Pekovic. The NBA free agency period opens at 11:01 p.m. on Sunday. Wolves forward Chase Budinger is also an unrestricted free agent, who Saunders has said he wants to re-sign.