Here’s my translation:
– What can I say? The knee still aches, but it behaves much better now than it did early in the season. So overall I’m estimating my condition as great, you can say that I’m in great shape. As for the change of my role on the team, you better ask the coach about this decision, because it was him who made it. I am trying to adapt to the new role.
– Did Blatt tell you the news in person?
– We had the talk, it lasted 30 seconds or so. What exactly David said is between me and him.
– Probably Blatt is looking for options that would benefit the team.
– He thinks so, yes
– Did in influence your relationship in some way?
– We are all good. It was a work decision. He is the coach and he bears responsibility for team results. So it is on him to decide what to do and how. I have to execute. It’s simple.
– Do you see anything positive in this situation? For example, entering the game from the bench, you started to get regular playing time in fourth quarters.
– I don’t see anything positive. Other that I got even more motivation to work further.
– A year ago you got traded in January, so you remember it perfectly how bothersome it can be to relocate during the season. Do the rumors about other teams calling about you distract you from your current tasks on the Cavs?
– I have a job which I must do no matter what people around are saying, so I do my best to abstract myself from this information.
– Do you set a return to the starting lineup as a goal for yourself?
– You know it perfectly that I don’t like to talk about goals. Believe me, I have goals, but I set them for myself, not for the outside world. I really don’t like to get into situations where I said something and then didn’t do it. So I’ll better stay silent and quietly keep on doing my work.
Here’s my translation.
The Kings first showed their interest in Dima in spring, and after he played great at summer camp in Treviso they wanted to use their second round pick to draft him. They didn’t, but they remained interested. Sacramento’s scouts have attended games of Russian national team in Eurobasket qualification this summer. Right now there are talks about signing Dmitry as a free agent.
What is the possibility of Kulagin signing with the Kings this autumn?
It’s 50/50. It all depends on Dima himself. He has to choose what he prefers: to play a decisive role on a strong European team or to fight for becoming one of the main players on an NBA team.
When will it become clear?
I think, before the end of this week.
Ryzhov also talked about his position on Kulagin’s free agency:
If a player wasn’t drafted, like Kulagin, you can talk to any NBA club and at the same time consider offers from Russia and Europe. It is not necessary to jump at any opportunity in the NBA, because there they don’t sign free agents for their potential – you either contribute right away or go home.
NBA is my goal, it is the reason why I play basketball. And I am sure that sooner or later I will end up there. Right now agents are in talks with Sacramento about my role on the team. It is a matter of principle for me what the final offer will be like. If I get guaranteed playing time, I will take the offer. But to go to the NBA and be a benchwarmer there – I don’t see a reason to do it. I don’t want just to make it to the league, I want to play there. I don’t rule out that in order to better prepare myself I will have to stay in Europe for some time longer.
According to your agent, Sacramento’s scouts were impressed by your game at Treviso camp. Did you manage to talk to any of them there?
Yes, I have talked to the scouts and to Pete D’Alessandro, general manager of the Kings. They really did like what they saw in Treviso.
What was the camp like?
We went there with my brother Misha, we prepared ourselves for the event. All of the players – young talents from all over the World – were divided into four teams, and every day we took part in exhibition games and drills against each other. Everything was played five-on-five. Also, U20 national teams of USA and France practiced there too, and in evenings they played against the select team of the event, which I was invited to twice. In one of those game I had great stats and hit the game-winner. After three days of the tournament I was named to the All-Tournament starting five.
Timofey Mozgov is in Saint Petersburg where he conducts his yearly tournament for kids, TM25 Cup, supported by the NBA.
At the event, Denver Nuggets and Team Russia center has talked to a crowd of Russian journalists, and Boris Khodorovsky of ITAR-TASS reported what Mozgov said about the rumored possible trade to Cleveland Cavaliers.
Of course, it would be interesting to play for David Blatt’s team. I know his coaching philosophy well, after working with him on Russian national team. The thing you like about Blatt is that he always sets the highest goals for himself and for the team.
Mozgov said he has no plans to force his way out of Denver.
So far all the talks about trade to Cleveland are just rumors. My last season in Denver was good, and to try and do something to leave the team wouldn’t be smart.
Taras Barabash of R-Sport quotes Mozgov on possibility of playing with LeBron James:
I would like to play with LeBron. But even though playing for a contender is cool, you got to understand that I want to be part of the team and not to just join a contender and ride the coattails, being a burden.
Sergey Karasev of the Brooklyn Nets and Russian national team has talked to Nikolay Mysin of Sovetsky Sport.
Here’s my quick translation.
What do you think about your trade?
It’s been over a month, but I still have mixed feelings. On one hand, Cleveland gave me a lot during my first season in the best league in the World. On the other hand, I understand that given the current situation in both teams, including the current rosters, in Brooklyn I have a better chance to start playing. Of course, this is all just on paper for now – nobody guarantees that I will be getting minutes regularly. There’s only one way: bust your back and prove your worth.
And still, in New York you will be playing next to Andrei Kirilenko.
Of course! This is a great plus of this relocation. Andrei is always ready to help on and off the court.
He said that Lionel Hollins will give you a chance to show what you can do.
So far I have only talked to coach for five or ten minutes in Orlando where I joined the team for the last game of Summer League right after the trade. But we didn’t have the time to discuss anything. We will talk in autumn, when I come back to New York from the national team. Then Lionel will let me know what he expects from me. And I will bend over backwards not to disappoint the coach.
Did you get to meet David Blatt before you left Cleveland?
Of course. I even practiced a couple times under his guidance. But then that trade happened… It happens in the NBA. Cavaliers were getting ready for the comeback of LeBron James, they needed to clear some cap room. I don’t know if Blatt himself took part in organizing the trade. But after the trade he wished me good luck. We had a great talked, remembered our work with the Russian national team, some of the moments in life… David, he is not just a coach, he is a very good friend.
After staying in Ohio, doesn’t New York scare you with all its temptations, traffic jams and fast paced lifestyle?
Oh, you better not stay in this city for more than two or three days – you get very tired. (Laughs). It’s beautiful and interesting, yes. But I don’t want to live there. This is why I rented an apartment in New Jersey – it’s calm and quiet and it’s close to the Nets practice facility where the team spends 80 percent of the time. Though the place is empty for now, there is no furniture or appliances. I will make myself at home when we are done with Eurobasket qualifiers and I leave to get ready for the NBA season.
Stanislav Gridassov (twitter) has talked to Andrei Kirilenko for PROsport magazine about doing charity work. Both have a great experience in the area, so they had a lot to share.
Here is my quick (please don’t pick on the wording) translation of the entire interview:
Stanislav Gridassov, editor-in-chief of PROsport magazine and co-founder of Moscow-Saratov Charity Foundation:
I remember well the impression it made when I first visited the United States and saw a typical newspaper photo: five or six basketball players were visiting a children’s hospital, smiling widely for the camera and holding an oversized $5000 check. “Yuck!”, I thought, “It is so fake. They were forced to go there, herded like soldiers. And those satisfied smiles! Couldn’t they just do a good deed without demonstrating it?
You probably were in photos like that a hundred times. I wonder what you have felt the very first time?
Andrei Kirilenko of the Brooklyn Nets and Kirilenko’s Kids Charity Foundation:
I didn’t get the impression that it was fake even when I was still playing in Russia and saw photos like that. On the contrary, it was a nice thing to see: people helping other people. Maybe it’s just our country? We always wonder, ‘What’s the catch?’, always stay on the look-out. And when you make it to the NBA, you get to know Americans better, and then it gets installed in you as a norm. Like a software that works the right way. People coming from different backgrounds, when they succeed in life, feel obligated to help those who were not that lucky. And it’s not about them being so cool and being able to afford it. No, they just have to.
We often have to contact well-known Russian athletes. Sometimes money is needed to build a children’s playground or to help an orphanage. Sometimes a terminally ill kid would ask for his favorite athlete to come visit him. There are different situations, yet we almost never hear no. But there is always one request: do not write anything about it, we will do everything, but in quiet.
This is their right. Here, people generally tend to keep themselves to themselves more than they do in America. They don’t like being public. Maybe it’s not the right thing to say, but an athlete in Russia is always ready to hear something negative about himself. “He gives himself airs”. “He is too proud of himself”. “He is greedy, he could have given more”.
And what should we do about this designation? “”So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others”.
I agree with the ‘do good deeds in secret’. But there is another factor. You can be proud of yourself, sticking yourself out there, or you can attract all the attention to those who you are helping. There are children who need help. Poor people. Hospitals. In this case, information about an athlete X or a club Y helping someone becomes not a PR move but an example for others, a way to move it closer to being the norm. Let people even consider it a PR move, but if someone else follows your example, and then another person, then another – it is already good.
I am not someone who would argue about it. I found out a long time ago that the louder a charity event gets, and the more well-known people get involved, the better the result. It’s strictly math. Did it in quiet – raised $500. Did it loudly – raised $5 000. Or $50 000. The most important thing, just like in sports, is the end result. If a child needs considerable money for a surgery, you cannot console him by saying that we wanted to keep our charity in secret.
There is nothing to argue about – this is the way charity works. The larger the number of people who know about a problem, the more help they can give. And then, you shouldn’t sweat over what people will think or say about you. Just do what you think you have to do.
Yes, there is another directive, too. ‘Help your neighbor as far as you can’
Kirilenko: I know a lot of athletes who do charity in quiet, Great gratitude goes to them! But as they stay in the shadows, they are limiting the potential number of people who could join them and get involved and help. And by “help” I don’t only mean giving money, how many would often think. You can donate your time too, your experience, your connections. There are many ways to provide help.
A public person, who millions of people know, can draw the attention to a problem, organize people, give a push for this problem to be resolved. There really is a difference if someone who nobody knows would address, and if Ovechkin would go out and say, ‘Guys, we need to get together and help’. We need to remember that we – pardon me – well-known athletes, have great means at our disposal.
Then, we should not forget that our people is very mistrustful.
Yes, this is another reason why well-known people should get involved in charity events: people trust them more.
How do you personally choose who to help, and who not to?
Originally, when Kirilenko’s Kids foundation was just getting started, we set a few directions for ourselves on who to provide help to: orphanages, children’s hospitals, children’s basketball schools, and also, older sports veterans. Some people we would find on our own, some people would contact us themselves. Right now we are working hard on developing an inter-school tournament School Basket – this season, 92 regular schools from all across Russia took part.
When you came back from NBA to CSKA Moscow for one season, you announced that you would give all of the contract money to charity. Who received that money?
Most of it went into Moscow orphanage number 59 – we repaired it, and built a basketball court there. Also, we have bought gear for teams participating in School Basket. We have repaired gyms in many schools.
Gridassov: Who else among basketball players does charity work?
Kirilenko: As an example: Fridzon, Ponkrashov, Vorontsevich.
Gridassov: I will add: Mozgov, Monia. Though Monia doesn’t like to talk about it.
Kirilenko: Well there are many others who don’t like to talk about it. And I am calling for people to speak up. To unite. Create social programs together. Festivals. There is a lot that we can do together. Look at America, where the whole country does charity work.
Katerina Manina of SportBox.ru has interviewed Andrei Kirilenko who attended a streetball tournament in Moscow.
Here is my quick translation:
You have renewed your contract with Brooklyn. Why did you make this decision, even though you had player option for the next season?
When I was just signing the contract originally, I planned that I would stay in New York for a couple years. Me and my wife always wanted to live for some time in this city. We have seen a lot of different places, different parts of America, different people – in Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Minnesota. But we have never managed to feel the real spirit of this special city. We wanted to dive into this atmosphere. And then many factors came into play, making it possible for it to become reality.
Of course, the most important thing was last year’s big trade, when the team got Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. I wanted to play on such a roster where, from the very beginning of the season, everybody expects you to win. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get it done, but it was a good try. We didn’t start the season well either, then managed to regroup and finish on a good note. Played a seven game first round series, but we came a bit short against Miami. That was a great experience. Of course I would have liked to play more, but I knew what I was getting into before I signed.
How did you like working with Jason Kidd?
When Kidd became the head coach, players didn’t know what to expect from him. He never worked as a coach, so he didn’t have any kind of reputation by that moment. For the first 30 games, it was very hard. I understood that it was a process, but it’s hard when you lose more games than you win. It helped me that I was injured. [smiles] Because even on the bench you think, ‘I can come out and change that!’. And there I couldn’t even step on the court and do anything. But then it became better, things started falling into place: team started winning, I came back from the injury. And we finished the season great.
What do you expect from the new Nets coach Lionel Hollins?
I know about Hollins that he is a very experienced coach who knows how to work particularly well with veterans, because he was the head coach of a rather older team in Memphis. I think this is a great choice by Brooklyn’s management. I think he will be able to establish the system for our older team.
For a lot of basketball players, NBA title is the pinnacle of their career. If we imagined a situation where you were told, ‘You are going to be a champion, wear a ring, but in exchange you will have to give back…’ What would you agree to sacrifice?
But what kind of a sacrifice that would have to be? If it’s something of material value, then I am ready to part with anything – the car, the house, none of that is important. If it has to do with something emotional, something I’m attached to, family, then no. I am definitely not giving a year of my life, for example.
You have played with Alexey Shved in Minnesota. What does the guy need to start playing in the NBA?
He has everything to play in the NBA. To do it better, he needs the trust of his coach, nothing else. I saw him on the court, he knows how to play basketball! He has proven himself in the first half of his rookie season. He played great, had everything going for him, and then… The less playing time you have, the less chances you have to prove yourself. You just need to trust in him.
David Blatt, who you worked with on the Russian national team, became the head coach of Cleveland. What kind of future do you think he has as head coach in the NBA?
I am happy for David, we are close friends. After so many years spent together on the national team, I can’t talk about him just as a coach I used to worked with. He is more than a coach – he is a friend, a family member even. When he was named head coach of Cleveland I congratulated him immediately. This is a huge step forward for him, he has deserved this position a long time ago. The thing is, NBA is a league on its own, and European coaches are not very welcome here. But it happened at last, and it’s a great chance for David.
Are the jerseys with our name on the back selling well in the Nets store?
My jerseys are flying off the shelves. [smiles] I tried to buy one late in the season and couldn’t do it. Probably Russian-speaking people of Brighton Beach bought them all.
What shoes do you prefer to play in? Do you have a favorite model?
I have been playing in adidas shoes for 15 years already. I have a favorite model – Crazy Light, this is the best of those I tried. The new Crazy Light are coming soon, so I am standing in line to get them, can’t wait.
Newest member of the Brooklyn Nets Sergey Karasev commented on his trade via his official group at VK social network.
Here is my quick translation:
Hi to all the subscribers of my group.
As you already know, there are changes going on in my career – I am moving to Brooklyn. My agent Andy Miller called this morning and told me that Cavaliers were going to trade me to the Nets.
I took this news calmly, because players getting traded in the NBA is a regular thing. Before the morning practice, Matthew Delavedova came by, we talked and wished each other luck. Club managers came to see me too. But this is not the last time that we see each other – I am going to see the guys from the Cavs again.
It’s a little disappointing that I don’t get to play in Summer League, because tomorrow I’m already leaving for New York for medical tests.
Am I glad or not – time will tell. I am sure that Brooklyn is a good destination, because, as I said before, the most important thing for me is getting playing time. I want to play and be valuable for the team.
The Nets’ roster is full of experienced players who I can learn a lot from. And, of course, it’s really great to be joining Andrei Kirilenko.
I would like to say a big thank you to the Cavaliers fans, all my teammates, team and club management for their support and help during my rookie season in the NBA.
It sounds like Karasev isn’t overwhelmed with excitement, and one can guess why. After being a go-to guy on his team in Europe, he had to spend a season sitting on the bench or in the D-League. He wants to play, and with the Nets’ stacked roster it’s not likely to happen at least for another year.
Still, he didn’t play much for a reason.
Nothing is ever given in the NBA. Got to be patient, work to improve and earn those minutes.
Karasev’s group on VK also reached out to Andrei Kirilenko for a comment on the trade:
— I am sure that this is a great move both for Sergey and for the Nets. Sergey is a young and talented player, a valuable asset for the future of our team. Personally, I am glad that a Russian player joined the team – me and Sergey have a really good relationship. There are many Russians in New York, Brooklyn Nets have a Russian owner, so I thing Sergey will be able to adjust and feel himself at home in Brooklyn.
— You have great experience of playing in the NBA, our younger players look up to you. Will you patronize Sergey in Brooklyn, provide him advice, help him off the court?
— I’ve known Sergey since he was a kid, I played on a team with his father. Of course I will always help Sergey. Idon’tliketheword“patronize”. I played on the Timberwolves with Alexey Shved and always tried to help him, give some advice, but never patronized him. Sergey and Alexey are grown up guys, they know it perfectly themselves what they need to do. There is no way I will interfere in Sergey’s life and I’m even less likely to play basketball for him.
— What do you think about Sergey’s future with this team?
— We have a rather older team, and I think it will be a good experience for Sergey to see the guys from our team in action, to inherit all the good things from them. In a year or two, many of the players will be leaving, and then Sergey will have his chance to take his spot.