Minnesota Timberwolves are pleased to get forward Andrei Kirilenko | NBA
Forward Andrei Kirilenko is officially returning to the league, with Minnesota. He spent 10 seasons with the Utah Jazz before playing for CSKA Moscow last season.
Andrei Kirilenko is officially returning to the league, with Minnesota.
The Timberwolves have found the versatile, tough-defending small forward they have been seeking to fill out their roster.
The 31-year-old Kirilenko signed a $20 million, two-year contract Friday; he spent last season with CSKA Moscow after a 10-year run with the Utah Jazz, choosing to play in his native Russia during the lockout and staying there once it ended.
"I think playing a more regular schedule in Europe helped his body. He told me he feels tremendous. He feels as good as he's ever felt," said David Kahn, Timberwolves president of basketball operations and general manager.
"I think that, if anything, it was probably a small advantage for him to not play in the NBA."
Kirilenko, who will play for Russia at the Olympics in London, won the awards as most valuable player and best defender in the Euroleague.
"The Wolves have one of the best coaches in the league in Rick Adelman, and I feel my game fits in well with his style of play," Kirilenko said. "I also like the talent that Minnesota has on the team with star players like Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio."
Kirilenko averaged 12.4 points and 5.6 rebounds with the Jazz.
The Timberwolves signed restricted free agent Nicolas Batum to an offer sheet and also tried to swing a sign-and-trade deal with Portland, but the Trail Blazers didn't budge and kept the 23-year-old swingman from France.
"We see somebody who can help us in a number of ways," Kahn said of Kirilenko, "and frankly is the kind of player we didn't have on our team."
• Forward-center Ronny Turiaf has finalized a one-year contract with the Los Angeles Clippers, reportedly for $1.146 million.
Former Gonzaga standout Turiaf, 29, finished last season with the champion Miami Heat. He began the season with the Washington Wizards, breaking his hand after four games.
The Clippers will be the sixth team in eight league seasons for Turiaf, who spent his first three seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers. He has averaged 5.2 points on 53 percent shooting and 3.8 rebounds per game in his NBA career. Turiaf is in London, playing for France in the Olympics.
• The New Orleans Hornets, Phoenix Suns and Minnesota have completed a three-team deal that will send 7-foot center Robin Lopez and forward Hakim Warrick from Phoenix to New Orleans, while moving forward Wes Johnson and a future first-round draft pick from Minnesota to the Suns.
Word of the multiplayer trade first broke Wednesday, though the final version had minor changes. The deal sends the contracts of Jerome Dyson and Brad Miller from New Orleans to Phoenix. Minnesota also receives three second-round draft picks in the deal.