Mar 16, 2011; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz small forward Andrei Kirilenko (47) blocks the shot of Minnesota Timberwolves power forward Kevin Love (42) during the first quarter at EnergySolutions Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-US PRESSWIRE

Andrei Kirilenko To Possibly Return To The NBA With Minnesota? "The 2nd Brandon Roy"

Dec 22, 2010; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves player Michael Beasley (8) shoots over Utah Jazz player Andrei Kirilenko in the first half at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

Early last night, I posted an article about the Minnesota Timberwolves getting involved in a 3-team deal with the Phoenix Suns and the New Orleans Hornets. In that article, I stated at the bottom that the player/s the Wolves will get in return of sending Wes Johnson and a first round pick to Phoenix was still an unknown variable.

Late last night, it was revealed. Remember Andrei Kirilenko? The Russian defender who was last remembered in the NBA for playing with the Utah Jazz. He may have disappeared for an entire season (2011-2012) but he hasn’t been doing that bad. He didn’t retire. Not like Brandon Roy. He was playing basketball in Russia, where he dominated and won the EuroLeague MVP this past season.

(This short paragraph might sound funny/corny) After successfully pulling Brandon Roy “out of the dead” earlier this month, the Timberwolves are now trying to bring in another guy from “the dead”, however with Kirilenko, it’s kind off different and not that “dead” if you know what I mean.

Just to be clear the Timberwolves won’t be getting anyone out of this three-team deal, but they’re actually trying to clear cap space by getting rid of guard Wesley Johnson who is currently worth $4,006,080.

The multi-team deal has shown to be a way that the Timberwolves could clear some cap space in hoping to be the team that welcomes back one of the best NBA defenders from the half court line to the paint.

During his NBA Kirilenko was a defender much like a Shane Battier or a Tony Allen, although not ask pesky. He doesn’t try to poke you around or annoy you in some way, he just plays straight up great defense. He can block your shot, he can steal the ball. Offensively he WASN’T (note the past tense) that bad as well. He could control the ball, pass, and shoot as well. Rebounding was also a something he could do well enough. I could easily say that Kirilenko is one of the most balanced basketball players I have ever seen.

I feel that people in Russia regard him as a LeBron James-like. He just does everything for his team. Even though he doesn’t have much highlights like The King, he still gets the work done and wins like The King. In NBA history, Kirilenko and NBA legend Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon are the only two NBA players who have finished a game with at least 6 steals, 6 blocks, 6 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists. Wow is all I can say to that.

The possible deal comes amid reports that the off-season hard working Minnesota Timberwolves are highly interested in signing the 31-year old Russian star.

January 17, 2011; Washington, DC, USA; Utah Jazz small forward Andrei Kirilenko (47) holds the ball against Washington Wizards power forward Rashard Lewis (left) at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE

For those of you who were unable to read my post about the deal I believe I must repeat myself by summarizing the 3-team deal: The Suns will send Robin Lopez and Hakim Warrick to the Big Easy, and the Suns would get Wes Johnson and a future first round pick from the Timberwolves. New Orleans on the other hand would send veteran big man Brad Miller to the Suns (this wasn’t stated in my previous post, sorry). According to, Minnesota is still thought of to get someone out of this deal. However, some people believe this deal would be used to clear up cap space to bring in Kirilenko.

Earlier yesterday, ESPN also reported that the Brooklyn Nets, who is owned by Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, were pushing hard to bring back Andrei Kirilenko to the NBA. With former Jazz teammate guard Deron Williams, who recently signed a new contract with the Nets this off-season, on the Nets’ side, it may tempt Kirilenko to take his talents from CSKA Moscow to Brooklyn.

Sport Express, a Russian daily newspaper quoted the Russian forward saying: “I want to decide my new team before the Olympics. There are several options in the NBA, but the final choice has not been made yet.” Furthermore, Kirilenko told RIA Novosti, a news agency in Russia,  “Which club in particular, we’ll know in a day or two.”

Kirilenko to the Timberwolves? Yes, absolutely! The Wolves need help defensively and Kirilenko will perfectly fit with the Timberwolves who also need a solid small forward. Nicolas Batum would have been a solid wing defender like Andrei but unfortunately the T-Wolves failed in the chase to fellow Northwest Division NBA team, the Portland Trail Blazers.

Blazers … psh. At least we got Brandon Roy to shove it into their face. And now the Timberwolves are trying to get another player who last played for a Northwest Division Team (Utah Jazz) who last had Kirilenko. Good luck on this chase Timberwolves, the Nets look like they’re the favorites in my eyes.

For more NBA analysis and opinions check out Theon’s general NBA blog, THEONBA

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Tags: Andrei Kirilenko Brooklyn Nets Deron Williams Hakeem Olajuwon New Orleans Hornets Phoenix Suns Utah Jazz

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