Tall, lanky and athletic forward, Andrei Kirilenko, has been waived by the Philadelphia 76ers, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.
Philadelphia has waived Andrei Kirilenko, team says.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) February 21, 2015
Kirilenko, 34, began the season with the Brooklyn Nets where he played in a meager seven games while only scoring three total points. The Russian All-Star took a leave of absence from the team for “personal reasons” which weren’t specified. A lack in allotted playing time was cited as a possible factor for Kirilenko leaving the team.
The Nets agreed to trade the six-nine forward on December 11, 2014, when the team sent Kirilenko, guard Jorge Gutierrez, the Nets second round pick in 2020, and cash to the Sixers in exchange for forward Brandon Davies. Upon the trade becoming official, Kirilenko did not join the team and refused to play. This resulted with the Sixers suspending Kirilenko on January 9 without pay.
Never having suited up for the Sixers, if Kirilenko ends up signing with an NBA team for the stretch run, it will be his first time playing since November. Despite the tough stretch in the last year, Kirilenko has enjoyed a productive professional career in the United States.
He debuted with the Utah Jazz in 2001 and spent the first 10 seasons of his career in Salt Late City. His best season came all the way back in 2003-2004 when he averaged 16.5 points, 8.1 rebounds an 2.8 blocks a game. The breakout season also saw him make his first and only All-Star team. He followed that performance by leading the league with 3.3 blocks a game in 2004-2005.
After the 2010-2011 season, Kirilenko returned to Russia for a year before returning to the NBA in 2012 with the Minnesota Timberwolves. The next move was signing a two-year contract with the Brooklyn Nets prior to the 2013-2014 season. Now, Kirilenko enters free agency one more time and it’s possible several teams have interest.
As Marc Stein of ESPN.com reports, the blonde haired Kirilenko would likely have several landing spots should he commit to finishing the season in the NBA.
Teams interested in Andrei Kirilenko, I’m told, still trying to confirm he wants to play on in the NBA. No shortage of suitors if he commits — Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 21, 2015
However, Jazz fans shouldn’t get excited for a potential reunion like the one Kevin Garnett received with the Timberwolves. Jody Genessy, who covers the Jazz, noted that the team wants to give young players opportunities, as opposed to veterans such as Kirilenko.
Don’t get hopes up for an Andrei Kirilenko return to Utah. Jazz need another big and want to keep giving young wings playing opportunities.
— Jody Genessy (@DJJazzyJody) February 21, 2015
Although his former team doesn’t appear as a destination, any team that signs Kirilenko would be acquiring a potent defender and seasoned veteran with the ability to score when needed. For his career, Kirilenko’s career marks read 11.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game.
[Image by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images]