In an interview that apparently took place after Lionel Hollins was hired but before Sergey Karasev joined the Nets, Andrei Kirilenko talks about why he came back (New York, New York), the Jason Kidd experiment (" it was very hard") and the Nets choice of a replacement ("great choice by Brooklyn's management").
Kirilenko was interviewed by Katerina Manina of SportBox.ru in Moscow where he participated in a street ball tournament. As translated by Alexander Chernykh of Rush'n Hoops, Kirilenko said his original plan was to spend two years in New York.
"Me and my wife always wanted to live for some time in this city. We have seen a lot of different places, different parts of America, different people – in Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Minnesota. But we have never managed to feel the real spirit of this special city. We wanted to dive into this atmosphere."
The Boston trade also was a factor, he said, but early on the season, things went from bad to worse, exacerbated by his back spasms, which caused him to miss more than 30 games..
"For the first 30 games, it was very hard. I understood that it was a process, but it’s hard when you lose more games than you win. It helped me that I was injured. [smiles] Because even on the bench you think, ‘I can come out and change that!’. And there I couldn’t even step on the court."
Although Kirilenko neither praises Kidd nor wishes him well -- he noted "I would have liked to play more" -- he very much likes the hire of Lionel Hollins.
"[He] is a very experienced coach who knows how to work particularly well with veterans, because he was the head coach of a rather older team in Memphis. I think this is a great choice by Brooklyn’s management. I think he will be able to establish the system for our older team."
He's also happy with the reaction he's gotten in Brooklyn.
"My jerseys are flying off the shelves. [smiles] I tried to buy one late in the season and couldn’t do it. Probably Russian-speaking people of Brighton Beach bought them all."
Andrei Kirilenko on staying in Brooklyn and Nets coaching change - Alexander Chernyk - Rush'n Hoops