Andrei Kirilenko's return may depend on off-season discussions

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Andrei Kirilenko seems happy in New York.  He lives downtown in Bruce Ratner's New York by Gehry apartment building; his wife Masha is part of the city's fashion scene and he's close to the team's Russian ownership, particularly Dmitry Razumov, Billy King's main contact point in Moscow.

BUT...

As Tim Bontemps points out, AK-47 had the worst season of his career. posting career lows in practically every statistical category, including minutes and points per game. He also missed 35 games, mostly to back spasms, a recurring problem for him over his career. Moreover, he didn't get as much burn as he would like, particularly in the playoffs, saying on packing day that "you want to be a contributor."  He hinted he might opt out, but at age 33, he may not be able to find a better deal than $3.3 million at least in the NBA, although it's certainly possible he could get additional years.

What about overseas, where Kirilenko was MVP of the Euroleague two years ago. Stefan Bondy tweets,

There's no doubt that when healthy, he can contribute mightily with his BBIQ, his length and defensive prowess, but as Mirza Teletovic's defense got better, Kirilenko's offense got worse, one reason Kidd played the Bosnian over the Russian in the playoffs.

Will he be back? He said that he could opt out, but Bontemps and team insiders believe he'll be back but if he isn't, the Nets would be hard-pressed to find his equal among vets minimum players, bad back and all.  Expect some discussions between him and Billy King before the June 29 deadline for him to decide on his option.

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