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Update: Tuesday, July 24 -- Joel C. Cordes
It's not surprising that Andrei Kirilenko is still mulling his return to the NBA. That rumor has been floating around for nearly a month now.
The more surprising part is that the presumed destination might be different. As well-regarded NBA scout Wendell Maxey mentions, AK-47 seems closer than ever in his return to the States:
However, it's long been assumed that Kirilenko would join the Russian-owned Brooklyn Nets. Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News refutes this idea, saying that AK-47 wants more than the veteran's minimum salary, which is all the Nets can currently offer:
Kirilenko will have plenty of teams interested in his services, but not many who will have their mid-level exception money left to pay. Isn't that why he went back overseas in the first place?
Update: Friday, July 20 -- Joel C. Cordes
NetIncome.com reports that Andrei Kirilenko told reports during Olympic training that he is still open to an NBA return this year. He cites the Brooklyn Nets as the only possibility in that report.
This is not surprising, considering the Nets are owned by Russian comrade Mikhail Prokhorov. However, the Contra Costa times also mentions the Warriors as having "AK-47" on their wishlist yet.
During his first few seasons with the Utah Jazz, Kirilenko was a nightmare on fast breaks and a defensive wrecking ball at either forward position. However, teams would be penciling him in as nothing more than a versatile, experienced rotation guy these days.
Would he give up his stardom and big European contracts potential to come back to the NBA?
Update: Wednesday, July 8 -- Joel C. Cordes
Eurohoops.com reports that Andrei Kirilenko has opted to remain in Europe and will sign with his Russian club CSKA.
This is much less surprising than the rumors of AK-47's return. He stands to garner much more money and playing-time overseas where he's still a big name. At this point, he couldn't expect to be more than a key rotation defensive and athleticism cog in the NBA.
Kirilenko was an up-and-coming star nearly a decade ago, but injuries and regression hindered him from living up to the max deal he last played on with the Jazz.
- End of Update -
In a report by the Salt Lake Tribune, it's been confirmed that former Utah Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko is an eyeing a return to the NBA. One of the teams he's considering just so happens to be the Jazz.
Kirilenko spent 10 years in a Jazz jersey and could be feeling a bit of nostalgia. This would be big news for the Jazz, who have quite a significant void at the 3, where Josh Howard may be their best player. Kirilenko may not end the search for a point guard, but he'll certainly improve the perimeter defense and transition offense.
This is a signing that Utah must consider. They may not land a better player, otherwise.