The love/hate relationship Andrei Kirilenko has with the NBA could be off again as the Brooklyn Nets forward has yet to make a decision on playing overseas come the 2014-15 season.
Kirilenko, who rose to stardom with the Utah Jazz thanks to his tenacious defense, eventually left the NBA to play in his native Russia but decided to return to the NBA and play for the Minnesota Timberwolves after being courted by the Sacramento Kings and San Antonio Spurs.
That relationship didn’t last long though as Kirilenko declined a $10 million dollar player option to sign with the Brooklyn Nets for a reduced $3 million dollar salary.
Such a move was rather unprecedented and was questioned by many around the league as the Nets, owned by Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, were investigated for some behind the scenes shenanigans.
Nothing ever came of the investigation and Brooklyn was cleared. But just as quickly as he signed, Kirilenko could be leaving to return home.
Andrei Kirilenko would not rule out a return overseas when I spoke to him recently,” says Stefan Bondy. “He has a $3 million player option with the Nets.”
While Kirilenko is unlikely to make $3 million dollars playing in Russia, he’ll certainly command a respectable salary and would get the benefit of playing in his native country.
Unlike the last time he did it though, such a decision would likely be the last for the 33-year-old forward as his play appeared to significantly decline this season and he’d be at least 34 or older by the time he returns to the NBA.
Brooklyn probably wouldn’t have a broken heart if he did decide to opt-out.