NBA Roundtable

Minnesota Signs Kirilenko

In Free Agency on July 27, 2012 at 12:12 am

ESPN reports

The Minnesota Timberwolves are finalizing a two-year, $20 million deal with former Utah Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko, according to a Yahoo! Sports report.

Sources close to the situation told ESPN.com’s Marc Stein on Tuesday the Brooklyn Nets were making a hard push to land Kirilenko. A source also told Stein the Golden State Warriors were among the bidders for Kirilenko.

The trade that made this opportunity a reality — financially speaking, it created enough cap space to make Kirilenko this offer.

Also on Wednesday, the Timberwolves 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 Minnesota 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.

Kirilenko added this about Rick Adelman in an article on twincities.com

“We talked a few times,” Kirilenko said of Adelman, according to the Google translation. “Very pleasant person. He called me several times in person, telling me what he sees my role on the team. Rick Adelman is a wonderful coach. I liked the way he coached when he was with Sacramento in the early 2000s with (Chris) Webber, (Vlade) Divac and (Peja) Stojakovic. Each one of them on the team knew how to score and pass and defend.”

Analysis

Kirilenko’s Value

Andrei Kirilenko is a combo forward capable of playing both forward positions but his effectiveness is much greater at one position (PF) than the other (SF).

Kirilenko is an undersized quick power forward. He relies on his quickness and his guard skills (ball-handling, passing, shooting) to create matchup advantages for his team offensively. Defensively, Kirilenko uses his quickness, length and activity to wreak havoc as a help defender. He gets a large number of deflections and creates turnovers. As a rebounder, Kirilenko is a little below average but decent enough.

At the small forward position, Kirilenko’s offensive advantage disappears. His skill-level is very high for a PF but not so for a SF. Still a well above average ball-handler and passer but a limited shot-creator and jump-shooter relative to his position. Defensively, Kirilenko is forced to spend more time out on the perimeter away from basket and is less disruptive as a result. However, Kirilenko still remains a well above average team defender + a good but unexceptional man-to-man defender. Good rebounder.

Contract

If Kirilenko were playing power forward full time, I’d say this was a good contract. Probably worth $10-12 million at PF. At SF, probably worth around $7 million.

Unfortunately for Minnesota, with Kevin Love at power forward and with Derrick Williams playing behind Love … the vast majority of Kirilenko’s playing time will happen at small forward instead of power forward. That will limit his impact and that in turn makes this a bad contract.

On the bright side, it’s only a two year deal so it isn’t overly damaging.

Minny’s Roster

C:  Nikola Pekovic, Greg Stiemsma
PF: Kevin Love, Derrick Williams
SF: Andrei Kirilenko, Chase Budinger
SG: Brandon Roy, Alexey Shved
PG: Ricky Rubio, Luke Ridnour, JJ Barea

That is a pretty solid team.

I am thinking 45-50 wins. So long as they get serviceable play from those unproven shooting guards.

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