Andrei Kirilenko opted out of his contract this summer, but there was a pretty good chance that the Russian forward would return to the Minnesota Timberwolves‘ starting lineup next season. Now that Kevin Martin has been inked to a long-term deal, this leaves little to no chance of Kirilenko returning, according to Darren Wolfson.
Source close to AK when asked if the #Twolves will renounce his rights: "Probably." Something needs to happen to pay Martin $7M/year.
— Darren Wolfson (@DarrenWolfson) July 3, 2013
Without Kirilenko around, Chase Budinger, who was just signed to a three-year deal, will likely move to the starting small forward spot.
Kirilenko had a solid enough season in 2012-13, averaging 12.4 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 64 games. More importantly, Kirilenko’s presence added a good defensive wing to Minnesota’s lineup, and Martin lacks severely in that department.
Despite being 32 years old, Kirilenko played well last season and said that he believes that he still has a couple good years left in him.
Kirilenko could be a bit pricey, but he fills a gap that a lot of teams have. He is versatile offensively and can guard his position, so finding a new team in the NBA shouldn’t be too hard.