No offense to the sanctity of being named the MVP of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague (it’s that continent’s best league by far), but you’re probably wondering why anyone would care about Andrei Kirilenko‘s best moments from last season. CSKA Moscow, his club that was second by a point in the Euroleague title game this year, is a powerhouse over there, but unless you’re overseas aficionado Fran Fraschilla, it probably doesn’t have the Q rating of say, a D-League team. Kirilenko, though, is back in the news not because he’ll be on Russia’s Olympic team but because he’s coming back to the NBA. So he says.
Kirilenko told Ria Novosti, “I’ll continue my career in the NBA. Which club in particular, we’ll know in a day or two.” Now, he’s 31 years old and the Jazz held the door open to him to leave after 10 years in SLC in 2011. He had career averages there of 12.4 points, 5.6 rebounds and 47 percent shooting from the field. Last season he was not only Euro MVP, but best defender, too (something circa 2007 Baron Davis scoffs at). He had 14.1 points, 7.5 boards, 1.5 steals and led the league with 1.9 blocks per game last season. By Kirilenko’s admission, there seems to be some bites on his desire to return, which will require a club to buy out his deal with CSKA, which lasts through 2014.
And who’s out front publicly saying they like AK-47? The Nets. The report has Billy King going on radio talking about why he is interested.
“After such a stronger season with CSKA I understand that I can still play at a high level. I’m 31 but I can still play and still want to play.”
King had said that he was looking at Kirilenko in part because he has the defensive ability to stop star forwards like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony.
“That’s why I’m looking at Kirilenko. You need players to run at those guys,” he told Fox Sports Radio.
But would you take the guy? Hit the jump to see his top five plays from last season.