Kirilenko Lets Wolves Contract Expire, Becomes Free Agent

by Mark Remme
Web Editor

Kirilenko Lets Wolves Contract Expire, Becomes Free Agent

Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

Email / Twitter

Veteran small forward Andrei Kirilenko allowed his contract with the Timberwolves to expire on Saturday, effectively making him a free agent as of July 1.

Kirilenko spent one season with the Wolves, signing a two-year deal with a player option for the second year prior to the 2012-13 season. It was a “comeback” of sorts for the 10-year veteran, who spent the first decade of his career with the Utah Jazz before playing a season in his native Russia during the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season. During his first year in Minnesota, he showcased numbers he hadn’t produced in nearly six years.

His 12.4 points per game were the most he’d scored since 2005-06, when he posted 15.3 per night. He also had his best rebounding (5.7 rpg) and blocks (1.5 bpg) since the 2005-06 season, and his 50.7 percent shooting from the field was the best of his career. In January, he became 15th player in league history to reach 2,000 assists, 1,000 blocks and 1,000 steals in a career.

Off the court, Kirilenko provided a soft-spoken, lead-by-example type presence in the locker room. He provided thoughtful insights on the game, helped nurture rookie guard Alexey Shved—his teammate with the Russian National Team and with CSKA Moscow in 2011-12—and became a favorite among media due to his prompt willingness to speak at the beginning of availability.

Kirilenko posted seven double-doubles last season and often filled a nightly role based on what the team needed from him—whether it was scoring, rebounding, steals or assists.

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