User ID
Password
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
VegasInsider.com
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto Racing
Horses
More
Betting Tools

 
Kirilenko opts out of final year of deal

New Sportsbook.ag customers: Make your 1st bet, get your 2nd bet free, 100%, winnings paid in cash.
Join Now

Already have an account? Click here to view new Exclusive Rewards!

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Andrei Kirilenko is opting out of the final year of a contract that would have paid him $10 million next season with the Minnesota Timberwolves, making him a free agent.

Advertisement
Kirilenko made the decision on Saturday, the deadline that was written into the two-year, $20 million deal he signed last summer, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press. The person requested anonymity because an official announcement has not been made.

In turning down the final year of his contract with the Timberwolves, Kirilenko is instead hoping to get a little extra security with a longer term deal when the market opens at 12:01 a.m. Eastern on July 1.

The versatile forward is coming off a rejuvenating year in which he averaged 12.4 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game for the Wolves, his best season in the league since 2005-06. The 32-year-old had more spring in his step after spending the lockout year playing at home in Russia, and he flourished in Rick Adelman's free-flowing system.

But Kirilenko also missed 18 games with assorted injuries, one of a number of Timberwolves players who missed significant time last season, the ninth straight year they have missed the playoffs. Kirilenko was largely responsible for the Wolves' dramatic improvement on the defensive end, with Adelman enjoying the luxury of being able to put him on every position besides center, depending on who was the biggest threat on a given night.

His ability to pass and move without the ball also made him ideal for Adelman's offense, and the veteran was superb in helping fellow Russian Alexey Shved make the transition to Minnesota for his rookie season last year.

New Timberwolves President Flip Saunders started getting an inclination that Kirilenko could opt out at least a week ago, and he made some plans for such a scenario.

The Wolves acquired swingman Shabazz Muhammad in a draft-night deal with the Utah Jazz on Thursday night in part to give them some depth at small forward. They also have Derrick Williams on the roster, though he has shown in his first two seasons to be a more natural fit at power forward and could be on the move himself.

The Wolves could try to negotiate a longer term deal - perhaps two or three years - at a reduced salary to bring Kirilenko back. Or they could use the $10 million they're saving on his contract to help pay restricted free agent center Nikola Pekovic, who is expected to get a significant offer on the open market that the Wolves will have the option of matching, and add a veteran shooting guard to a team that finished last in the league in 3-point shooting last season.

Kirilenko's decision could leave the Wolves with about $7 million to spend on free agents. O.J. Mayo, Kyle Korver, Kevin Martin, J.J. Redick and Marco Bellinelli all could be free agent targets for the Wolves. They also want to re-sign unrestricted free agent forward Chase Budinger, who would help fill in for Kirilenko.

If Kirilenko does go elsewhere, he will undoubtedly be a sought-after veteran. He proved last season that he still had plenty of good basketball left in him after four years of declining production led to his decision to play 2011-12 in Russia. And any team looking for a lockdown defender and willing passer to help make a playoff push could jump at the chance to bring him into the mix.

---

Follow Jon Krawczynski on Twitter: http://twitter.com/APKrawczynski

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

  
HEADLINES
Mejia: Christmas Day Matchups
News: Christmas Day Odds posted
US routs Dominicans in exhibition
7 charged with trespassing at Allen home
US moves forward without Durant
Cunningham plans to sue accuser
Drew added to Cavs' coaching staff
Referee Bavetta retires after 39 years
Ballmer debuts as LA Clippers owner
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NBA Pro Basketball Handicapper Sports Picks Records
VegasInsider.com Gold Membership
2013 NBA SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Chip Chirimbes + 3067
Paul Bovi + 2374
Kevin Rogers + 2090
Last 7 Day Leaders
Handicapper Money
No Games Last 7 Days  
   
   
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Dave Cokin 59 %
Paul Bovi 58 %
Stephen Nover 56 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Paul Bovi + 2013
Michael Black + 1848
Kevin Rogers + 1579
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Stephen Nover + 1320
Kyle Hunter + 1080
Joe Nelson + 993
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Bruce Marshall + 2114
Mike Rose + 1851
Kyle Hunter + 945
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!