Wolves trade on, but held up

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 27, 2012 - 6:49 AM

The Hornets have salary-cap issues, but Minnesota still expects to acquire Andrei Kirilenko soon.


Russia’s Andrei Kirilenko (center) has verbally agreed to a two-year, $20 million contract with the Wolves, but New Orleans’ salary cap position is delaying a three-team trade that would facilitate the agreement.

Photo: Mindaugas Kulbis, ASSOCIATED PRESS

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The three-team trade that involves the Timberwolves, Phoenix and New Orleans -- one that would clear salary cap space to allow the Wolves to sign Andrei Kirilenko -- isn't a done deal yet. But it is still expected to be completed and announced, perhaps as early as Friday. That would allow the Wolves to officially sign Kirilenko, who has verbally agreed to a two-year, $20 million contract to come here.

It appears New Orleans' salary cap position might be the sticking point in the trade.

The Arizona Republic reported early Thursday that the deal might have hit some snags. The deal had Robin Lopez and Hakim Warrick going from Phoenix to New Orleans, the Wolves sending Wes Johnson and a lottery-protected first-round draft pick in 2013 to Phoenix and the Wolves getting multiple second-round draft picks from New Orleans. Also, Brad Miller's expiring contract would go from New Orleans to Phoenix.

Later Thursday, a blog about the Suns, brightsideofthesun.com, reported the problem: The Hornets are over the salary cap, and thus more limited in what they can do in trades under the collective bargaining agreement.

That said, a trade -- perhaps modified -- is expected to get done.

NBA schedule released

The NBA schedule was released Thursday, and the Wolves will be on national TV 14 times, the most since the 2005-06 season. The team's local TV schedule will be released later.

The Wolves will open the season at home against Sacramento Nov. 2, the 12th consecutive year the Wolves have opened at home, before playing the next five games against Eastern Conference opponents, including a game Nov. 5 at Brooklyn.

Other highlights of the schedule include:

The team's longest homestand starts Jan. 30 and includes six games at Target Center against the Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, New Orleans, Portland, San Antonio and New York. The team has two four-game road trips, Nov. 23-28 and Jan. 9-14.

The Wolves will have 22 back-to-backs, with three being of the home-home variety and 11 away-away. But there won't be any of the difficult back-to-back-to-backs that were a part of last season's condensed schedule.

Here are some games to look for:

• On Nov. 23, the Wolves will face the Trail Blazers in Portland. Will it be a grudge match? Brandon Roy, who has agreed to terms on a contract with the Wolves, will be playing his first game in Portland since coming out of retirement. There also was the Wolves' attempt to pluck restricted free agent Nicolas Batum away from the Blazers this summer.

• Dec. 20 will be the Wolves' first game against defending Western Conference champions Oklahoma City, at Target Center.

• On Dec. 29 the Phoenix Suns -- and, presumably, Michael Beasley -- will play at Target Center.

• The Wolves play at defending NBA champion Miami on Dec. 18 and will play host to the Heat on March 4.

• Kevin Garnett and the Celtics come to Minnesota on April 1.

• The Wolves won't play on Christmas Day, but they will play the Knicks in New York on Dec. 23.

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