Andrei Kirilenko had to watch from the sidelines with an ankle sprain the last couple games as his team — Russian powerhouse CSKA Moscow — wrapped up another Russian League title after being part of the EuroLeague final four.
So, now what for Kirilenko? Does he stay in Russia? Return to the NBA? If so, where?
“I haven’t decided my future yet. There are 50-50 chances for me to stay or to go. I just want to say that if I stay in Europe, it will be with CSKA Moscow. I won’t play for any other team. I am going to weigh my options. It is going to be a very busy summer” said Kirilenko,
Assuming he does leave for the NBA (and the interviewer thinks he will, if Google Translate did its job right) Kirilenko said that the Utah Jazz and Brooklyn Nets are the “priority.” Utah is where Kirilenko has played before (and they could use him) while Brooklyn is owned by Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov (and they could use anybody).
At some point I expect Kirilenko will return to Russia to play a few more years and finish his career, but I expect him back in the NBA next season.
Report: Andrei Kirilenko near multi-year deal with Nets
This is not the superstar the Nets need — or the guy that keeps Deron Williams with the team into Brooklyn — but it would be a nice step forward.
Sportando out of Europe reports Andrei Kirilenko — currently playing well for CSKA Moscow — is close to a multi-year deal to join the New Jersey Nets.
I’d like to see what they are paying him before I say how much I like the signing, but this is a good fit on paper. The shot blocking and high-flying game of AK-47 contrasts with Brook Lopez and his more traditional post game. It gives Deron Williams a couple kinds of options — he can look at the matchups and exploit what works best for the Nets.
Kirilenko has played his entire career in Utah and last season gave them 11.7 points and 5.7 rebounds a game. He was an All-Star once but he is not that guy anymore, what he is still is an above-average NBA forward with real length that he knows how to use.
He’s not the star the Nets needs, but he’s a good role player. If they don’t overpay for him.
Andrei Kirilenko looking at options: Jazz, Nets or Moscow
And now with the NBA lockout over the free agent has options all over the globe.
Reports from international basketball site Sportando say AK47 is headed back to the states. The Jazz would like him back. The Nets would like him. A few other teams could use him (the Lakers keep looking at big men and are rumored. even though they really need a point guard).
“He and I have decided to evaluate the NBA interest versus what he has over there and then a decision will be made,” (agent Marc) Fleisher said….
Kirilenko, 30, signed a three-year contract with CSKA in October. The deal features an opt-out clause that will allow him to return to the NBA once the lockout is officially over, as well as an opt-out at the end of every CSKA season. All the money he earns while playing for CSKA is being donated to charity.
Options. It’s good to have options.
But as he gets paid more on this side of the pond, I expect to see AK47 back in the NBA. Where is another question all together.
Andrei Kirilenko suffers concussion, breaks nose in Russia
It’s the irony of calling the players that come out of Europe soft — the referees over there allow the game to be far more physical.
Current free agent but long-time Jazz big man Andrei Kirilenko is evidence of that as he suffered a broken nose and a concussion when his head slammed into the floor in a weekend game, according to multiple reports. The video of the injury is below, but AK47 is coming over from the weak side for help defense when he goes for a steal, is tangled up with the opposing player and gets knocked to the ground so fast he can’t get his hands out to break the fall.
Utah Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko is returning home to Russia, and if the NBA lockout drags on he may stay there.
Kirilenko has signed a three-year contract with CSKA Moscow, reports FIBA.com. Kirilenko is an NBA free agent but his Russian deal still has an NBA opt out allowing him to return to the NBA when the lockout ends (he has a one month window to decide, and can do that each of the first couple years of his contract).
Basically, Kirilenko will be a free agent leverage – give me an offer I like or I return to Moscow.
Kirilenko played traditional power CSKA (the team formerly owned by Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov) before coming to the NBA. The team’s coach Jonas Kazlauskas approved AK-47 coming back to Russia and said he was a national star that needed to come home.
“My opinion,” Kazlauskas said in a club announcement, “you should not take the NBA player during the lockout. If they can leave you, you don’t know what to expect. And only the weak teams can take this kind of step. At the same time, every rule has its exception, and Kirilenko is the exception.
“Andrei is the star of Russian and world basketball, he means for his country as much as Sabonis for Lithuania, Pau Gasol for Spain, Nowitzki for Germany.”
Well played, Kazlauskas. Tell all the other teams they are weak for taking an NBA player and trying to match you, while you take the cream of the crop.
Kirilenko played brilliantly for Russia during EuroBasket, where he was named to the all-tournament team. Russia finished third and will take part in next summer’s pre-Olympics, last chance qualifying tournament.