In a shocking, very quick turn of events, Kahn has finally acquired a significant player by signing Andrei Kirilenko to a 2-year, $20 million contract. Ten brief thoughts:
1. Kirilenko is a terrific player. He immediately brings a robust skillset and plenty of experience along with it. He is an excellent defender, falling into the swiss-army knife forward category. He can hit the outside shots. Brings energy, toughness, passing rebounding, defense, steals, blocks and shooting. He is about as versatile of a forward as they come. Don't let anyone tell you this isn't a very, very good addition to this roster.
2. Kirilenko was not technically "out of the league for a year." He missed the season because of the lockout. During said year, he won the Euroleague MVP. Any argument that he is "washed up" and "no team wanted him" is completely baseless.
3. Kirilenko's injury proneness is a legit concern.
4. $10 million is not much of an overpayment for a player of his skillset, experience and prestige. Look around. We are just used to Kahntracts and rookie deals. What is funny is I'll bet those against the money would be a-ok giving Gerald Wallace a similar deal. Seems hypocritical.
5. The Wolves finally look like a decent team.
6. Those of you who don't like this move can kindly enjoy your alternative universe with Wes Johnson still in it and maybe a Willie Green offseason "cherry on top."
7. Many Wolves fans should eat crow for dessert tonight (me included). A big move finally came.
8. Trading Wes Johnson and a 1st rounder hurts. I get it. I'd rather focus on what is ahead. The Wes Johnson era is now over. The Wolves still have one extra first rounder. Wes will not be missed. Pretend it didn't happen. Consistent, good basketball is upon us for the first time since 2004.
9. What on earth is the plan for Derrick Williams? 6th man combo forward? He is going to have a hard time finding minutes. This is a negative by-product.
10. < Insert ridiculously overdone whitey joke>
Forgot to mention earlier. AK-47 is married to a Russian pop music star who is kind enough to give him one hall pass per year. So, to all those Minnesota women out there, that could be YOU in the picture above.
A lot of white guys, but hey you can't say they're not talented white guys. It's not like they're filled with Scalabrines and Luke Waltons. Trading away Wes Johnson was good for both the Wolves and for Johnson, and Kirilenko will fit in well (not just racially, but in terms of basketball). Rubio and Love will be glad to have him. http://www.sportsfanhood.com/2012/07/suns-acquire-wesley-johnson-in-three.html
I like this trade for the Wolves. Makes a lot of sense. Short term contract, short term benefit. But it only makes a difference if the Wolves are run well enough to parlay the bi-product of short term success and successful acquisition of talent without drafting into long term success. Any team can make a one year run at the playoffs. This happens all the time in the East.
@Nate Hughart Good point. Who knows yet if we can parlay any success into something for the long-term. Plus AK very well may leave after one year with his player option, and Pek will be a (restricted) free agent. Yikes...
@Nate Hughart I don't know if Wes Johnson can parlay his talent into long term success, so I don't see a tremendous gamble here.
Kirelenko certainly makes Minny a darkhorse to win the western Conference. The can most certainly have a chance to win their division with the moves that Kahn made. Seriously, you guys have to stop bashing this dude. All his moves have worked out so far for the better thus far.
@CollegeWolf @jtshoopsblog Not sure what jtshoopsblog found in the medicine cabinet, but i am sure it is expired. The wolves just raised their ceiling from 6-7th and guaranteed first round playoff exit to seed to 5-6 seed and highly likely playoff exit. There is no way they could be LAL, SA, OKC in the playoffs.
@WallyWorld @tcsnyder @CollegeWolf @jtshoopsblog I could see a healthy Rubio outplay 58 year old Nash over 7 games. I could see Kirilenko and Love battling Kobe and Pau to a stalemate (i.e. Love scoring against Pau about as much as Kobe against Kirilenko and vice versa). Bynum vs. Pek... eh. Depends. Pek gets to the line a lot, Bynum fouls a lot. What does Roy have in his tank? What can Shved do?
I would be a lot happier playing the Lakers in the playoffs than the Thunda. Thunder are a tough draw for everyone.
@tcsnyder @CollegeWolf @jtshoopsblog Tim, did you see the Wolves play the Spurs, Mavs and Clippers last year? We destroyed them. Spurs got hot late and blew it. They have made no improvements. The Clippers are 2 deep with a series of overrated/nonproductive players. The Wolves could easily contend with any of those teams with the possible exception of San Antonio.
No one touches OKC or LAL anyways though. The Wolves will always have a 2nd round ceiling depending on seedings. It was never going to be anything but that. Shit, I'll take it.
@CollegeWolf @tcsnyder @jtshoopsblog Meh, LAL and OKC would be tough. SAS are getting oooold. 1st round exit likely, but then again we don't know what Roy has left in the tank and how good Kirilenko will be. There are some variables there. As the year goes on we'll know more.
Plus Kahn said there's possibility he makes one more "heavy lifting" move. Williams for Tyreke???
@Pants80 Hopefully he is traded before then. Because if not, and he actually plays for us at SF, then his trade value will somehow become less than it already is.
@CollegeWolf @Pants80 Agreed. He will soon approach the trade value of Flynn/Wes. Hopefully Adelman doesn't jerk him around this year. There is enough talent on this team where you can afford him a consistent 20-25 development minutes. Ithink D-Wil deserves as much in terms of opportunity unless he completely blows it.
I guess it just kills me though that we had to trade a pick to get rid of the #4 overall pick in the entire draft. Terrible draft. Terrible allocation of assets. Terrible GM. What a greek tragedy Kahn is.
@CollegeWolf Well anytime you can take a shitty player from Syracuse you have to do it. That's the KAAAAHHHNNNN way. Just ridiculous that people defend this guy.
Crazy to think AK got $18 million (!!!) the last year of his contract with the Jazz. Wow. But yeah, in a vacuum, he's a great addition to the squad. Certainly better than Budinger. Infinitely better than Lesley Johnson.
And he's white.