Report: Sixers want Andrei Kirilenko to report to team, prepare to play

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Andrei Kirilenko fell out of the rotation with the Nets this season, and was dealing with a family medical situation that was keeping him away from the team, as well.

That combination of facts was enough for Brooklyn to trade Kirilenko to the Sixers.

It was a cost-saving move for the Nets more than anything else, and the team gave up a second round pick in order to get Philadelphia to take Kirilenko’s contract off of Brooklyn’s hands — a move that saved them over $11 million when factoring in luxury tax penalties.

It was believed that the Sixers would simply waive Kirilenko, because losing as many games as possible developing young talent there is the stated goal, and giving minutes to a veteran would only hinder that process.

But Philadelphia, always looking to acquire additional assets to aid in the rebuild for the future, is now asking Kirilenko to report to the team — and prepare to play in an attempt to showcase his talents.

From Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

The Philadelphia 76ers are requesting forward Andrei Kirilenko report to the team and prepare to start playing in games, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

For now, Kirilenko and his representatives are resisting the Sixers’ overtures, preferring the organization waive Kirilenko and let him become a free agent, sources said. …

Kirilenko, 33, wants the balance of the $3.3 million owed to him this season, and ultimately the freedom to sign elsewhere on a new deal this season, sources said. So far, he’s been unwilling to join the rebuilding Sixers, but eventually could be mandated to report to the team to collect on his contract.

Kirilenko has a family medical issue that has kept him in the New York area since the trade, and that’s been part of his desire to stay off the court in Philadelphia. Nevertheless, the Sixers believe their close proximity to New York – and the franchise’s expressed willingness to be accommodating on the matter – should necessitate Kirilenko to come to Philadelphia and report to work, sources said.

This is all about the Sixers trying to maximize every opportunity to continue to stockpile assets. They already got a draft pick for taking Kirilenko on, and if he were to report to the team and show an ability to be able to contribute, Philadelphia could flip him at the trade deadline for another pick or a young player who it believes could be useful.

Where this gets tricky, however, is with Kirilenko himself. If he wants the money owed to him on the remainder of his contract, he’ll need to show up. But if he decides the family issue is too serious to do so, then the Sixers would simply be out of luck in terms of trying to execute their latest plan.

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