In checking on the availability of Brooklyn Nets forward Andrei Kirilenko, several contenders were left with the impression that the former All-Star’s desire to tend to a family matter in New York makes a trade impractical for the foreseeable future, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
The Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Clippers are two contenders with needs at small forward who’ll wait to see if Kirilenko, 33, becomes available closer to the NBA’s trade deadline in February, or after a contract buyout later in the season, league sources said.
Kirilenko failed to fit into Lionel Hollins’ rotation, and he separated from the Nets on a recent West Coast trip to administer to a family issue in New York. The Nets have been working to find a team that’ll take the balance of his $3.3 million deal for the 2014-15 season, but a family matter that may require him remaining in New York until January or February could make it difficult for the Nets to trade him soon, sources said.
For teams with salary cap space and rebuilding mantras, the Nets would need to include future second-round draft picks to move Kirilenko. Those teams would simply waive Kirilenko, paying him the balance of his contract. For the Nets, though, it probably isn’t wise to unload more future draft picks to simply rid themselves of his contract now. Waiting until closer to the February trade deadline, when contending teams know Kirilenko will be prepared to report to them, makes more sense and wouldn’t require the sweetener of added draft picks.
Kirilenko doesn’t have to accept a contract buyout and cost himself money. He can wait until the February trade deadline and become a low-risk addition elsewhere in the NBA.
“Andrei has all the power now,” one rival executive told Yahoo Sports. “He can say he likes the situation enough to play or not to play.”
The 76ers have wanted too much draft compensation with Kirilenko to get a deal done, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Talks with Philadelphia are not completely dead, but no longer include Nets forward Sergey Karasev, sources said.
Kirilenko struggled to stay healthy with the Nets a year ago, but did hold a significant role under ex-coach Jason Kidd when available. Under Hollins, Kirilenko has played only 36 minutes – without a basket.
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 12 NBA seasons, he’s played with the Jazz, Minnesota Timberwolves and Nets.
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