Wolves, Andrei Kirilenko reach agreement on 2-year, $20 million deal
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The Minneseota Timberwolves reached a verbal agreement on a two-year, $20 million contract with free-agent forward Andrei Kirilenko on Wednesday, according to an NBA source.
The deal includes a player-opt out for Kirilenko after the first season. Yahoo! Sports first reported the deal.
Kirilenko, 31, who played last season in Russia, is expected to be the Wolves' starting small forward in 2012-13. He spent 10 seasons with the Utah Jazz before returning to his native Russia in 2011-12 to play for CSKA Moscow.
ESPN reported that the Brooklyn Nets made a hard push for Kirilenko and that the Golden State Warriors also got in on the bidding. However, an NBA source said the only real concern for the Wolves was that Kirilenko would stay in Russia.
He was under contract through 2014 but the buyout to get out of the deal was not substantial.
Also on Wednesday, the Wolves agreed to a multi-team trade with the Phoenix Suns and New Orleans Hornets that will send center Robin Lopez and forward Hakim Warrick from Phoenix to New Orleans, while moving forward Wesley Johnson and a first-round draft pick from the Wolves to Phoenix, a person familiar with the deal told the Associated Press.
The deal also sends guard Jerome Dyson and retiring center Brad Miller's $5.1 million contract from New Orleans to Minnesota, allowing the Timberwolves to clear space under the NBA's salary cap as they pursue free agents. Minnesota also will receive two second-round draft picks from New Orleans, while the Hornets will receive cash.
David Kahn, the Wolves president of basketball operations, declined to confirm the deal when asked about it on a conference call Wednesday, saying only that he is "not allowed to comment on anything that hasn't been consummated."
An NBA source told 1500 ESPN later Wednesday that the deal indeed was not complete but had been agreed upon.
Kirilenko was teammates with newly signed Wolves guard Alexey Shved in Moscow and will play with him again on Russia's Olympics team at the London Games.
In his NBA career, Kirilenko averaged 12.4 points and 5.6 rebounds per game and shot a combined 47 percent from the field.
The Wolves first choice at small forward was to sign Portland restricted free agent Nicolas Batum, but the Trail Blazers matched the Wolves' offer to the 23-year-old and kept his rights.
The Associated Press contributed