January 10, 2014
In addition, Andrei Kirilenko has returned from injury, and Mirza Teletovic has found his way into the rotation after a season and a quarter of watching from the bench. Having to accommodate for Brook Lopez's injury, Jason Kidd has taken the brave step of moving Pierce to power forward alongside Garnett at centre, opening up minutes for the duo, and they are delivering. Kirilenko's numbers are universally down across the board, due directly to his minutes - he hasn't even recorded a single block yet. However, this disguises his ever-present effectiveness. Kirilenko is the disruptive, energetic presence he has always been, winning possessions and stifling opponents, injecting significant life into an old, slow, inefficient team, and playing hard every minute. He is what they have sorely lacked.
September 23, 2013
Andrei Kirilenko – Brooklyn Nets
The suspicions regarding the signing were inevitable, tedious and unnecessary. As Kirilenko himself expressed it, he didn’t opt out of $10 million to sign for $3 million – he opted out of $10 million to re-sign for about that much again, not to take a massive pay cut. Minnesota were offering him for three years and $30 million in sign-and-trade deals, to which he was complicit. The $3 million Kirilenko got from Brooklyn was roughly Plan P.
Nevertheless, whatever means got them here, Kirilenko is now here to upgrade on what the recently departed Gerald Wallace produced while earning less than a third of what he did. He’ll do so while also earning less money than the man he is making completely redundant: Mirza Teletovic. Kirilenko’s deal is an outright steal – the very fact that at least one NBA owner asked the league to investigate how it was even possible is a glowing testament to that.
September 19, 2013
In 2002/2003, during the final year of Stockton and Malone, the Utah Jazz went 47-35. In the first season after that, they went 42-40. Ostensibly, they hardly missed a beat.
Andrei Kirilenko was the star of that 2004 team. He led the Jazz in every category except assists - when his 3.1 assists per game was second only to Carlos Arroyo's 5.0 - and his dynamic play on both ends earned him a maximum contract with the belief that he would carry the Jazz front line for years to come. As we now know, he didn't. Nevertheless, for that one season, Kirilenko did truly carry a ramshackle cast of misfits and journeymen to a surprisingly strong season.
Utah didn't mean for Kirilenko to do this. They didn't assemble the roster they wanted. They didn't enter the post-Malone and Stockton era intending to have all of Greg Ostertag, Jarron Collins, Mikki Moore, Ben Handlogten, Curtis Borchardt, Michael Ruffin, Paul Grant and Keon Clark platoon at centre. They didn't really intend for Arroyo, a bit-part player the previous season, to lead the team so single-handedly in the backcourt. And they didn’t mean to have Kirilenko lead the team in three point makes. It all just happened. And it all happened because plans A through F didn't happen.
February 26, 2011
That leaves Utah and Houston as pre-deadline projected tax payers. And as of today, both still are. Utah saved a little bit of 2010/11 tax when they made the Deron Williams deal, but they were still $4,907,732 over it in the aftermath, and never made another deal. Rumours of Raja Bell to Minnesota went nowhere - the Timberwolves presumably realising just in time that they don't need 34 year old veterans for the stretch run when they have only 13 wins - and players like C.J. Miles and Andrei Kirilenko were not moved to cut costs. Strangely, neither was Ronnie Price; his $1,321,250 salary was not enough to get the Jazz under the tax, but a simple trade him and cash to a team with cap space, as predicted way back when, would have saved them that much again in luxury tax. Alas, it did not happen. And I'm not sure why.