Andrei Kirilenko is a fun player to have. He brings a full tool box to the basketball court, being both and effective offensive player and defensive player. He also brings us much needed veteran leadership. Luke Ridnour is great, but I do think it is important to have a legitimate starting player that has that veteran presence. Ideally we'd bring Luke off the bench, but we need that calming, crunch time presence that Kirilenko can bring.
Madison Dan has discussed the "Core" of Love, Rubio and Pek. But the most important factor to having a good core is supplementing that core with good talent. I believe the decision they make with AK will be perhaps the most important decision for the next couple of years (outside of letting Pek walk for nothing).
I don't believe the answer is quite so clear either. I think the Pek decision is easy, a 27 year old top 10 center with only a moderate history of injuries. Gotta at least control that asset. I'm still in the "curious to see what we could get" for Pek camp, but at the very least I think we have to retain his talents.
Kirilenko on the other hand what do we do?
Option A) Kirilenko opts out and we don't re-sign with him
I have a few concerns about AK as he fits on this team. He's not a great 3 point shooter and not a great scorer. He can score but has about a 22 point cap on his max output. He actually only got to 20 points 6 times all year last year.
This theoretically isn't a huge deal. With Love and Pek we have two guys that should almost be a lock for 20 pp36. However, counting on 100% might not be the best strategy going into next season considering how this one panned out.
I have maintained for awhile that a perimeter scorer would do wonders for this team. I realize they don't grow on trees and generally are expensive, but 10 million for a guy who isn't much of a scoring option does worry me a little bit.
Another reason why I wouldn't be terrible opposed to letting AK walk is. I think he did get broken down pretty easily.
if you look at his Gamescores it seems there is a downward trajectory nearly the whole season. AK logged a ton of minutes early on and was never able to really recover.Obviously, I would expect him to play better on a more moderate minutes pace for a whole season, but with AK and Pek we might be dropping 20-25 million on two players who can't really play more than 30-33 minutes a night and maintain maximum effectiveness.
Option B) AK opts out and we resign him
If AK opts out, he has still maintained that he loves playing for Adelman and with some of these guys. Would he sign a longer term "retirement" contract?
For me this both could be the best and worst outcome. If AK is a sweetheart and gives us like a 4/24 or 3/18-21 type contract we could really save ourselves a lot of money and keep a ridiculously productive player.
However if he asks for a 3/30 type contract to stay, I'm not sure that is the best thing for this franchises. That is a long and scary contract for an older player who has shown some signs of going down the "broken down" path.
While "financial flexibility" can be an overrated term if we sign AK to a 3/30 deal, while also signing Pek we effectively would lock ourselves into a team that at 100% is probably a 5th seed in the West. Obviously it could be soooo much worse, but as a fan of unrealistic expectations I like to at least kid myself into the dream of a title one day.
Option C) Wolves convince AK to opt-in
This option has both pros and cons as much as the others do, but I personally think of the three choices: this is the one I prefer.
If he opts in he will make nearly 11 million dollars, which is a lot of money. But the 1 year commitment I think is the safest option for the team. They can also use the contract as trade bait as well, a good player on an 11 million dollar expiring contract could be a very valuable trading asset as well.
What would signing AK do to our cap situation?
2012-13 Cap was 58 million. I am under the impression either this next years cap or the one after that is supposed to go down significantly? But let's assume 58 stays consistent
Pek: 12 (probably generous)
Budinger: 4 (ballpark
Cunningham/Steamer/Lee: 4 total
This crew has us over 58.
Obvious alternatives are moving Williams, Barea and Ridnour which will clear up 12 million-ish dollars.
"At the end of the day, it is what it is"
I like Option C. I don't know how realistic it is but I think it gives us the maximum amount of flexibility, protection and production out of Kirilenko.
What are your thoughts?
Also, did anyone see Gatsby?
I have a theory that Michael Bay and Baz Luhrman are long lost brothers. One grew up in the art district of Sydney Australia and the other in the cocaine infested waters of Miami. But both have a tendency to let their proficiency behind the camera get in the way of their ability to tell a good story.