Yesterday, on a phone teleconference, Wolves GM David Kahn officially announced the signing of former Utah Jazz standout Andrei Kirilenko to a two-year, $20 million pact after previously missing out on top free agent target Nicolas Batum. Kirilenko, 31, played this most recent season for CKSA Moscow following a decade of play for Utah. During his sole season with the Russian club, Kirilenko earned Euroleague MVP and top defender honors, demonstrating that he has not lost a step and is clearly still an elite defender as well as a polished all around player. As a former three-time NBA All-Star and three-time All-NBA defender, Kirilenko brings a little bit of everything to a Wolves frontcourt that has been previously plagued by the play of now former Wolves Wes Johnson and Michael Beasley.
In order to free up the necessary cap space to sign AK-47, the Timberwolves sent now official draft bust Wes Johnson and a future first-round draft pick to Phoenix in a three team trade that also involved the New Orleans Hornets. As a part of the trade, Minnesota received three future second-round draft choices but most importantly, the cap space to sign the Russian superstar. Wes Johnson had a tumultuous two year career with the Timberwolves and failed to even remotely live up to the hype of being selected 4th overall in the 2010 draft, while being selected in front of the likes of Demarcus Cousins, Greg Monroe, and Paul George, among others. Johnson comes off as having very unstable confidence and his dribbling skills remain unacceptable for an NBA small forward, and as he is now 25-years-old he can no longer be looked at as simply a high upside prospect. The former Syracuse star now joins fellow former Timberwolf Micheal Beasley in Phoenix in what will most likely be a rebuilding year for the Steve Nash-less Suns.