The Jazz are not one of the teams reaching out to him, according to reports.
Kirilenko is a versitile role player who can be a good fit in the right situation. He’s a long 6’9” who can finish at the rim and play inside or knock down the three. He’s a good shot blocker if not an always focused defender. He moves pretty well without the ball and gave the Jazz a fairly efficient 11.7 points and 5.1 rebounds a game last season. He’s not an All-Star now — and certainly not worth the $17.8 million the Jazz paid him last season — but he is above average.
The question now is where does Kirilenko go as a free agent. Does he chase a ring with a contender or go to a team with cap space that can really pay him. He was tearing it up in Europe with CSKA Moscow (he was the EuroLeague player of the month in October and quite the dancer), but his game always fit well in international ball. He did suffer a nasty head injury and a shoulder injury but is said to be back to 100 percent.
The question is where will it fit in the NBA this season. Kirilenko has options.
Joel Embiid on Monday will have an MRI on his injured left knee and is now listed as out indefinitely.
Embiid has been experiencing swelling and soreness in the left knee injury that has caused him to miss 16 out of the last 17 games. Bryan Colangelo announced back on Feb. 11 that Embiid has a minor meniscal tear. In his most recent press conference last Friday, Colangelo had targeted this Friday’s home game against the Knicks as a possibility for Embiid’s return. Now, that isn’t the case.
Embiid had been the biggest ray of hope for Philadelphia, but the 76ers shouldn’t chase watchability down the stretch. Sit Embiid until he’s fully healthy and secure the best draft position possible.
Maybe Embiid’s body just can’t handle the rigors of NBA basketball, but Philadelphia has no choice but to hope for the best with him and Simmons. And hope the nail the their first-round pick this year and get the Lakers’ first-rounder.
This could still be a dangerously good team in coming years. The Process created that potential.
But the threat of injury always looms around the corner, maybe especially so for Embiid.
Report: Knicks’ Joakim Noah likely to miss rest of season after knee surgery
Prepare for the talk next fall about Noah feeling refreshed and ready to help the Knicks.
But this surgery won’t reverse the underlying problem: Noah is a 31-year-old big man with heavy mileage. He can manage his knees, but it’s probably too late for him to regain enough athleticism to reliably contribute.
Just three years and $55 million+ remaining on his contract, which already looked like the NBA’s worst deal and is now even more unfavorable.
Buddy Hield: Vivek Ranadive told me at Kings-Pelicans games, ‘We’re still going to get you’