Andrei Kirilenko stated in his blog yesterday that he is ready to give up the NBA as a whole if the Utah Jazz cannot find a way to trade him to another team. The Russian import has said many times that he is not happy with Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan and it seems that he is at the last straw, claiming he would be willing to give up the NBA as a whole just to get away.
According to a Russian newspaper, Kirilenko said “I just want to explain to everybody what I think and feel and that I could sacrifice my career with the NBA. The only thing I’m not prepared for is if I’m told, ‘Andrei, we want you to stay anyway.’ I’m sure then the next season would be a repetition of the previous one, and what will the fans say then? How could you possibly rely on a player who wants to leave?”
Kirilenko is in the middle of a contract which still owes him $63,000,000, but his strong feelings clearly make it sound like he is willing to make less elsewhere. Because of the vast amount still owed to him, he is virtually impossible to trade in the NBA. He previously played for CSKA Moscow, but didn’t say he needed to go back to that specific team.
“I would like to be where I am needed and right now I feel that my country needs me,” Kirilenko said. “But I cannot exclude some European clubs. Trust me, I really am prepared to leave NBA. It certainly does not mean that I’m dying to go to Europe. I’m just ready.”
“Last year, we had a conversation with him,” Kirilenko continued “and Sloan said, ‘Andrei, if you don’t like something about the way I conduct training you could always break the contract with the Jazz.’ So that’s exactly what I want to do now!”
AK-47 averaged 8.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.0 blocks in 70 games last season for Utah, who made it to the NBA Western Conference Finals.