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Andrei Kirilenko: Lionel Hollins told me "I do not see your role on the team."

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Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

In an interview with a Russian sports publication Tuesday, Andrei Kirilenko said "optimism is over" for him and that Lionel Hollins had told him after first few games of the season, "Andrei, I do not see your role on the team." Kirilenko says he was surprised and contends he can "probably help the team.".

In previous interviews with Pavel Osipov of Sport-Express, Kirilenko had expressed optimism about his role in the team's plans and had praised Hollins, making favorable comparisons between him and Jason Kidd. Now that's changed. Here's what he told Osipov, according to a Google Translation.

"I was satisfied with Brooklyn. I liked the system of the club, which is strongly reminiscent of the one that I played in Utah. I liked Lionel Hollins. Yes, this is no joke! He is a very competent expert who is coaching well, but ...

"After the first few games of the season Hollins himself came up and said, "Andrei, I do not see your role on the team." I respect him for his honesty and candor. I think in this situation it's silly to demand something as a way to put pressure on the coach.

"In fact, my time was beginning to shrink with every next match in the course of the preseason. But then, I did not attach much importance to it. And in the first 3 - 4 games of the regular season, I did not truly understand what was happening..."

Kirilenko said Hollins "stressed that he was pleased with my professional attitude" So no hard feelings, he added, saying of Hollins, "We understood each other."  Asked if Hollins feels the same way about Sergey Karasev, Kirilenko suggested the writer ask the team's other Russian player.

Kirilenko contended that he can still play and noted how well he had played with the Timberwolves two years ago when he played 32 minutes a game. He said he bore no resentment to the coach.

"There is only a sense of regret about the lost time. I'm ready to play, and probably could help the team," he told Osipov. "A lack of playing time does not allow me to enter into the right rhythm. Maybe I'm exaggerating, but those are my feelings. Only I in any case I do not complain. This is just an attempt to explain why it is impossible."