BARCELONA – The Minnesota Timberwolves are finalizing a two-year, $20 million contract with free-agent forward Andrei Kirilenko as they near completion on a three-team trade to send Phoenix’s Robin Lopez and Hakim Warrick to the New Orleans Hornets, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
The trade still needs to be approved by the NBA, but sources are confident it will be completed, clearing the way for the T'wolves to open the salary-cap space needed to sign Kirilenko.
Lopez agreed to a three-year, $15.3 million contract in a sign-and-trade agreement with the Hornets, league sources told Y! Sports.
The second year of Kirilenko's contract will be a player option.
The rest of the deal included the Timberwolves sending small forward Wesley Johnson and a lottery-protected first-round draft pick to the Suns, sources said. Brad Miller’s expiring contract goes to the Suns, while the T'wolves receive Jerome Dyson and two future second-round draft picks from New Orleans.
Lopez, a restricted free agent, is returning soon from a vacation to take a physical for the Hornets. New Orleans had been working diligently for weeks on acquiring a center to play alongside No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis, and give Davis some inside support.
Kirilenko has a buyout in his CSKA of Moscow contract that allows him to return to the NBA. He ruled out the Brooklyn Nets and Russian billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov on Tuesday because the Nets simply couldn’t pay him beyond the veteran’s minimum of $1.2 million, sources said.
Minnesota signed another Russian, point guard Alexey Shved, to a free-agent contract. The T’wolves signed Portland restricted free agent Nicolas Batum to a $45 million offer sheet, but the Trail Blazers matched the money to retain him.
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