Minnesota Timberwolves: Will Andrei Kirilenko Return Next Season?

By Ryan Heckman
Greg Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Timberwolves endured plenty of injuries over the course of this past season and not many bright spots were seen. One of those rare bright spots for the Wolves may have been even more bright if he had been healthy for the entire season. Veteran forward Andrei Kirilenko came to the Wolves as a free agent on a two-year deal worth over $9 million per year.

This offseason, Kirilenko will have a decision to make. Having never won a title, he will need to decide whether or not he returns to Minnesota, where he is unlikely to win a championship in 2014. Kirilenko was pricey for the Wolves, and many would argue he may have been overpaid considering his age. Minnesota may have been able to bring in two contributing players for his price instead.

But, in any event, Kirilenko played as you would expect him to play. He was defensive-minded, doing a lot of the things that go unnoticed. Putting up almost six rebounds and three assists per game to go with 1.5 steals, Kirilenko was able to be counted on as one of their core “glue” players, as many refer him to. He wasn’t bad offensively either, as he averaged 12.4 points per game.

The problem for new president Flip Saunders may be convincing him to stay in Minnesota while other contenders could be calling his name. The opportunity to win a championship could be all too enticing for the 32 year old, and he could find himself opting out in favor of the chance to win a ring.

Kirilenko is just one of many decisions and issues for Saunders to address this offseason. Other considerations include finding a solid wing player and possibly finding a new home for forward Derrick Williams. What will Kirilenko do? Only time will tell.

Ryan Heckman is a writer for RantSports.com covering the NBA and NFL. Follow him on Twitter, “Like” him on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google.

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