Former Utah Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko learned a lesson this past season; that sometimes you have to travel elsewhere, to realize that you were in the right place to begin with. After he spent years complaining about the NBA and stating that he wanted to take his talents to Russia, the Eastern European native was true to his word as he signed a multi-year pact with CSKA Moscow last year.
However it seems his experience turned out to convince him that his life was far better in the Association, as he Russian website “R-Sport,” that he intends to play in the NBA in the upcoming campaign. AK-47 told the website in article published on Tuesday “I’ll continue my career in the NBA. Which club in particular, we’ll know in a day or two. After such a strong season with CSKA, I understand that I can still play at a high level. I’m 31, but I can still play and still want to play ”
One team that is putting on the full-court press as they attempt to sign the ten-year veteran of the Association, is the Minnesota Timberwolves, according to a report from the “Star Tribune,” stating that Minnesota is trying to swing a three-team trade to gain cap space as well as Kirilenko.
The paper’s sources state that the T-Wolves are trying to complete a deal with the Phoenix Suns and the New Orleans Hornets, that would send Minnesota small forward Wes Johnson and a future number one NBA Draft pick to Phoenix. The report does not state what role the Hornets would play in the transaction, but it would allow the T-Wolves to sign Kirilenko and still have room under the salary cap for future moves.
Acquiring the small forward, would soften the blow over losing out on restricted Free Agent Nicolas Batum. Minnesota signed Batum to a multi-year offer sheet, only to see it matched by the team that held his rights, the Portland Trail Blazers. AK-47, plays the same type of game that Batum does, plus he would add experience to a young Timberwolves roster. Kirilenko has averaged 12.4 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists in his ten-year career in the Association.