MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota Timberwolves forward Andrei Kirilenko will wait until after Thursday night’s NBA Draft to decide his future with the team, his agent said.
The 6-foot-9, 234-pound forward has until Saturday to exercise the $10.2 million player option on his contract for next season. Or, he can simply let the deadline pass and begin considering a future — and likely the final years of his career — elsewhere.
“I suspect that after we see what happens tonight in the draft, tomorrow we’ll talk and he’ll make up his mind,” agent Marc Fleisher said to FOX Sports North on Thursday afternoon. “Whether we state anything publicly, I don’t know. We may say nothing and let people find out when they find out.
“He has to opt in. He doesn’t have to opt out.”
In his first and only year in Minnesota, Kirilenko averaged 12.4 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. A 32-year-old, 11-year veteran, he’d ideally land a two- or three-year contract that provides him some stability before pondering retirement.
Staying in Minneapolis would be just fine with Kirilenko, Fleisher said.
“He really liked the team, he really likes Coach (Rick) Adelman, his family enjoys being in Minnesota,” Fleisher said of Kirilenko, one of several Timberwolves players that missed substantial time due to injury last year. “Obviously, he would’ve preferred they didn’t have all the injuries they had. He feels very confident that if they had not had those injuries, they would’ve been a playoff team.”
Opting out could sacrifice some money in the short term, as it’s unlikely a player of Kirilenko’s age and current production level would get a multiyear contract worth more than $10 million annually. But if sticking somewhere for more than one season is more of a priority than sheer dollar amounts, testing the free-agent waters might be a better route.
It puts the Timberwolves in a slightly precarious position, one that could’ve been avoided had the option’s contract-stipulated deadline come before the draft.
But it was former team president of basketball operations David Kahn proposed the June 29 date, not the player or agent.
“I didn’t pick the date,” Fleisher said. “I just agreed.”