Kirilenko flattered by recruitment

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 14, 2012 - 11:42 AM

Speaking from Russia on Thursday, new Timberwolves forward Andrei Kirilenko listed the reasons -- beyond $10 million a season, of course --why he chose to resume his NBA career in Minnesota.

"It's very flattering when the G.M., the coach, players are calling you and saying, 'We need you, we need your experience,''' he said of a courtship process that included numerous telephone calls as well as $20 million guaranteed over the next two seasons if Kirilenko wants it.

He also called himself a fan of Wolves coach Rick Adelman, dating to his seasons in Sacramento a decade ago.

"That Sacamento team was one of my favorite ones: A lot of Europeans, great flavor for the game," he said from Moscow after participating in the NBA's "Basketball Without Borders" camp intended to grow the game worldwide. "I said, 'Wow, I really have the chance to play for a coach with a team-oriented system, kind of like they play in European basketball."

The chance to play with CSKA Moscow and Russian national teammate Alexey Shved, whom the Wolves signed in July, didn't hurt any, either.

"He's a great young kid," said Kirilenko, who said he will arrive in Minnesota the last week of September for the start of training camp Oct. 2 in Mankato, Minn.

And there's one more, rather unusual reason: His sons, ages 10 and 5, want to play hockey, not basketball.

"We're from Russia," he said. "They play hockey in Russia."

Roy is ready

Brandon Roy has been in Minnesota for two weeks because his son needed to start school Sept. 3 and because he wanted to work with Wolves' coaches to learn a new system.

"I want to make an impact right away," he said after working out with new teammates Nikola Pekovic, Chase Budinger and free agent Anthony Tolliver at Target Center. "I feel great. This is the best I've felt in a long time. I'm able to work on my game and get better. The last couple years in Portland, I was just doing my best to maintain. The biggest thing I'm excited about is I'm in the gym. I'm working hard and coach has to tell me to stop playing instead of me saying, 'OK, that's enough.'''

Less of Pek

Pekovic lost eight pounds over the summer and looked noticeably leaner Thursday. Where'd all that weight go?

"To muscles," he said.

He said the weight loss will help his mobility and durability, particularly after undergoing May surgery to shave bone spurs off his ankles.

"I know it will help my game and my health," he said. "My ankles are better because I don't feel anything. All this bothering that I got at the end of the season, it was really bad. I couldn't play like I was playing during the season so for now it's great. I hope it will stay like this all the time."


• The Wolves signed D League point guard Will Conroy to a partially guaranteed contract. Conroy is one of Roy's best friends but Roy said it's not a package deal. He said Conroy helped talk him into considering the Wolves after they had Conroy in training camp last December.

• San Francisco Bay Area broadcaster Dave Benz will be the Wolves' new television voice, league sources said. He will replace Tom Hanneman and will partner with color commentator Jim Petersen. Hanneman will move to a role as studio host.

• Single-game tickets go on sale next week. Past buyers, social media followers and Wolves Wire subscribers can buy in a pre-sale starting Sept. 17. Others can buy starting Sept. 21. No single-game tickets are available for both Oklahoma City and Lakers games or the Miami (March 4) and Boston (April 1) games.

• Wolves second-round pick Robbie Hummel has returned to the U.S. from his Spanish team to have cartilage in his knee surgically repaired. Hummel, the former Purdue star who tore his ACL twice within 10 months in 2010, is expected to miss four to six weeks.

• Roy met Ricky Rubio on Tuesday at Target Center before he flew to Vail, Colo., for another checkup on his surgically repaired knee. He will return to the Twin Cities next week and expects to be cleared to start running after this latest visit. Pekovic said Rubio expects to play sometime in December.

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