Andrei Kirilenko on choosing an NBA team
Here’s something from Andrei Kirilenko’s recent interview with Vladimir Mozhaitsev of Sport-Express. The Russian forward is still undecided on what to do next:
- There’s nothing concrete. In theory, I may end up on any of the thirty NBA rosters.
- But you should have some priorities. What’s going to be more important – an opportunity to contend for a championship, or whatever is better for the family, or the sum of contract?
- If I leave for the NBA, it’s definitely not going to be for the money. I’ve made a good amount over my career already. So team aspirations will be the defining factor. It should either be a contender or a promising team that is able to contend in near future and is not an outsider.
- If you decide to leave, what will your feelings be then?
- That’s what hurts. Even though I knew this time would come. And we have agreed that I would leave CSKA during the season. But from a moral standpoint it will be a hard thing to do. This is why I still didn’t make a final decision whether to go or to stay. I think that I will use up all the time that I have – according to the contract, decision should be made before January 9th.
I have spent a lot of time at CSKA, and playing here took a lot of energy and effort. My teammates, coaches and fans believe in me. And then, to just wave your hand in a second, “OK, I’m going…” I don’t know. It’s really hard to make a decision. I’m not going to rush, that’s for sure.
My career depends on this decision. I will think over everything and weigh all the nuances very carefully. It’s possible that my next contract will be my last. And I’m not a player who’s close to finishing his career. I’m in good shape and there’s a lot of interest in me.
I don’t need a contract to make money as a basketball player for one last time. I want to play, to fight for a title and to be giving significant help to my team.
This is all a bit weird after what ESPN reported a few days back:
(Kirilenko’s original asking price — four years, $40 million — came as major sticker shock to a lot of teams. He’s lowered the price significantly over the past few days (three years, $26.5 million), but now that the Pacers moved on to West, he’s in a bit of a quandary. The Jazz would like him back and other teams, like the Nets and Kings, have shown interest. But so far no teams are biting.
So actually it’s about the money too, otherwise somebody would have picked him up by now.
At the moment Kirilenko is practicing with CSKA Moscow, sticking to non-contact drills because his shoulder still hurts from that fall. (He passed out instantly after he caught an elbow to the face, that’s why the fall was so awkward). Kirilenko says the shoulder is bothering him more than his broken nose – he will soon be able to play without a protective mask.