One of the teams that troubles Minnesota in Wolves’ bid to retain Andrei Kirilenko: San Antonio. I’m told Spurs have AK-47 in their sights
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 1, 2013
The prospect of having Kirilenko don the Silver & Black is interesting, to say the least. Kirilenko is one of the more versatile forwards in the game, on both ends of the floor. At 32, he is a bit past his prime, but he was still able to put up a tidy line of 12.4 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.5 blocks in 64 games last season. Kirilenko would give the Spurs another versatile defender to throw at teams alongside Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green, and a lot of lineup flexibility. He is the type of player that follows the “Spurs way”; that is, he has a hard nosed, no nonsense approach to the game of basketball and he doesn’t get into trouble off the court. Kirilenko would be a good fit with the Spurs.
That being said, it is at this point only a rumor, one that I have doubts about for a variety of reasons. For one, Kirilenko opted out of a $10.2 million contract to become an unrestricted free agent, so he is probably looking for a good amount of money. I doubt the Spurs are ready to commit that type of money over multiple years to a 32-year-old player. A $10 million contract for Kirilenko would mean the Spurs likely would not be able to retain Tiago Splitter, or go after any other marquee free agents. Second, the Spurs’ front office is a notoriously tightly run ship, so every rumor such as this one should be taken with a grain of salt.
So make what you will of San Antonio’s apparent interest in the Russian forward. Would Kirilenko perhaps take a discount in order to pursue a potential championship? Or is he too rich for the Spurs’ blood? It’ll be something to keep an eye on while this already wild NBA free agent season continues.