For Kirilenko, staying with Wolves is fine for now

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 23, 2013 - 12:52 AM

The veteran is keeping an open mind about his future here.

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Andrei Kirilenko

Photo: Joel Koyama, Star Tribune

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Now that the NBA trade deadline has come and gone, Timberwolves forward Andrei Kirilenko knows, as if there were any question, he'll be here for the rest of the season.

After that, he has until to July 1 to opt out of the final season of the two-year, $20 million contract he signed last summer.

He has 10 million reasons to stay, but said Friday he's keeping an open mind.

"I'm going to wait until the off-season," he said. "Right now there's no point to make any decision."

He said he and his agent sought the player's option for next season because "we want to have all kind of options."

"I didn't know what I was stepping into when I start the season," he said. "I heard a lot of good stuff, but you're always a bit worried how it's going to go.

''So far, it's going great. I like Rick's [coach Rick Adelman] system. We have a lot of injuries. The result is a little bit not what you expect, but we're working on it.

"So far, I like everything here except the result. We need to try to fix it. In summertime, I will sit with my agent, my family and look at it."

Time to step away

Kirilenko has notified the Russian basketball federation that is retiring from international player at age 32 so he can spend more time with his family. He has played for Russia in European, World and Olympic championships since the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

"I want to be a better dad," said Kirilenko, who has three children ages 3 to 11. "I think I already give a lot, play 12 years on the national team."

He said he wants to spend time with his wife and kids with their grandparents in St. Petersburg and Moscow in Russia and also at the family's homes in France and Utah during summer.

Two kinds of luck

Thunder coach Scott Brooks actually has had to tinker with his starting lineup three times because of injuries since the Wolves and Thunder's previous meeting in January. He has used four different starting lineups this season; the Wolves have used 13 different ones.

When asked if thinks a healthy Wolves team is a playoff team, Brooks said, "Yeah, right there. They have a playoff coach and some really good players. They have an All-Star, if he was healthy. They've got a good point, a couple very good point guards. They have a very good team.

"I give coach Adelman a lot of credit. He just keeps plugging along and doesn't complain about the injuries. Obviously they were on their way and who knows, they still might have a chance to be in the playoffs."

The gang that couldn't ...

Wolves reserve guard J.J. Barea made two of his first three three-point shots Friday after he had shot 2-for-12 from there in four games before that.

When asked about Barea's shooting "funk," Adelman said, "Well, it's everybody's shooting funk. Every time I look at three-point percentages, I see us 30th. We've been really consistent there. We've been 30th practically the whole year. That's hard."

Etc.

• Adelman did not accompany the team to Oklahoma City on its flight Thursday afternoon, but instead joined the team on Friday afternoon so he could spend Thursday with his wife, Mary Kay.

• The Thunder held a moment of silence Friday to remember Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss, who died Monday at age 80.

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