Wolfson: Roster likely set after Wolves paid big for Andrei Kirilenko
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It's not Nic Batum, Pau Gasol or Andre Iguodala, but the Minnesota Timberwolves made the long-discussed, singular big move on Wednesday.
A high-level Wolves source confirmed on Wednesday night the team has a verbal agreement with free agent Andrei Kirilenko on a two-year, $20 million deal that includes a player option for 2013-14.
The source fully acknowledged that "it's too much money." But the best way to lure above-average unrestricted free agents is to win a bidding war, so that's what Wolves president of basketball operations David Kahn did.
The source said that back-and-forth wasn't with the Golden State Warriors or any other NBA team. It was with CSKA Moscow. Kirilenko was seriously wrestling with whether he wanted to leave the Russian team he played for last year.
Before a few days ago, the Wolves had made no contact with Kirilenko. Keep in mind the Wolves called on double-digit free agents from July 1 through July 4. Kirilenko only became an option when the Batum attempt failed.
It was Kahn who made the initial phone call to Kirilenko's agent, but coach Rick Adelman was on board. This move has equal fingerprints on it.
To create the necessary cap space, the Wolves will send wing Wesley Johnson and a future first-round pick to Phoenix in a three-team trade. The selection will likely be Memphis' pick, which the Wolves got via Houston. It has lottery protection through 2016.
As of late Wednesday night, the deal was not ready to be sent into the league office. The Wolves are expected to get two future second-round picks from New Orleans plus guard Jerome Dyson, who is just a throw-in.
• When asked if Kirilenko, Brandon Roy, Greg Stiemsma, Alexey Shved and Dante Cunningham would complete the offseason transactions, the source said, "I think we're done" -- but was quick to add that it's fluid, because Kahn loves talking to agents and a big man could still be needed. Free agents Carl Landry and Anthony Tolliver are still on their radar.
• The source had a strong feeling that Kahn will move a point guard, likely Luke Ridnour, before the start of the 2013-14 season. The Wolves could be busy again at the February trade deadline.
• The Wolves never made a serious run at restricted free agent Brandon Rush.
• While there has been social-media chatter about the Wolves not keeping Cunningham, the source said that has not come up internally. He fills a need.
• The Wolves never made a formal offer for Courtney Lee because the price was too high. Kahn and Lee's agent, Stu Lash, spoke face-to-face in Las Vegas, so Kahn knew exactly what Lee wanted. Lee ended up in Boston on a four-year, $21.5 million deal.
• Kahn had initiated text-message contact with free agent Jodie Meeks' agent in the last two days. But a source close to Meeks said on Wednesday night that Meeks is now off the Wolves' radar. He will sign soon with an Eastern Conference team.
• There is internal fear the Blazers next summer will extend an offer sheet to restricted free agent Nikola Pekovic.