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?
He doesn’t really know, he told Russian site sovsports.ru (translation via Sportando).
“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.
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.
This season in Europe, Andrei Kirilenko has been about the most dominant player on the continent — he was EuroLeague player of the month for October (he was slowed in November after a faceplant). Plus, his dancing looks improved.
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).
But Kirilenko’s agent told the Salt Lake Tribune the rangy forward may just stay in Moscow.
“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.