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The Philadelphia 76ers have suspended Andrei Kirilenko for failing to report to the team, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Under the suspension, Kirilenko is unable to collect the balance of his $3.3 million salary. The NBA was made aware of the suspension in the past several days, sources said, but the Sixers had not made the information public.
Kirilenko has wanted his release and an opportunity to sign elsewhere in the NBA.
After Philadelphia and Brooklyn completed the Kirilenko trade on Dec. 10, Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie repeatedly expressed to Kirilenko’s camp that there were no immediate plans to release him and asked Kirilenko to report to the team.
The Sixers wanted Kirilenko, 33, to start working his way back into playing condition and eventually be activated to play in games, which would set up the opportunity for Philadelphia to deal Kirilenko for an asset at the NBA’s February trade deadline. It is unlikely the Sixers would’ve kept Kirilenko past the trade deadline – either trading him, or buying out 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.
Early this season in Brooklyn, Kirilenko had fallen out of the playing rotation of coach Lionel Hollins and became inactive on the roster in December. Kirilenko hasn’t played in an NBA game since Nov. 13.
Kirilenko struggled to stay healthy with the Nets a year ago, but he did hold a more significant role under former coach Jason Kidd.
Several contenders with needs at small forward would have interest in signing Kirilenko should he become a free agent, but Sixers management hoped that a strong showing in a Sixers uniform would motivate teams to make a deal for him later in the season. Nevertheless, most interested teams believe Kirilenko will eventually become a free agent this season and will likely refuse to make a trade for him.
The 76ers sent forward Brandon Davies to the Nets for Kirilenko and acquired a 2020 second-round pick as well as the right to swap second-round picks with Brooklyn in the 2018 NBA draft.
Kirilenko has had a decorated NBA and international basketball career. He was an All-Star for the Utah Jazz in 2004 and made the first-team All-NBA Defensive team in 2006. In 13 NBA seasons, he’s played with the Jazz, Minnesota Timberwolves and Nets.
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