Wednesday , Sep , 19 , 2007 Oly Sandor

Andrei Kirilenko & Utah Jazz Had Rocky 2006-07 Season, Toronto Raptors & L.A. Lakers Trade Options?

I have to put Andrei Kirilenko’s relationship with the Utah Jazz in the same category. Not that AK-47 is a creepy dude chilling behind bushes or lip syncs bad teenage dance music. But you knew a Russian storm cloud was forming around Salt Lake City …

Sometimes you can spot trouble brewing from a mile away. It’s like watching the bad guy lurking behind a bush in one of those B-rated movies. Or like Britney Spears performing at the recent MTV awards. You just knew it’s wasn’t going to end well.

I have to put Andrei Kirilenko’s relationship with the in the same category. Not that AK-47 is a creepy dude chilling behind bushes or lip syncs bad teenage dance music. But you knew a Russian storm cloud was forming around Salt Lake City. Here’s why:

  • used to be The Man. For years, the Russian forward was Utah‘s superstar. Now he’s the fourth wheel behind Carlos Boozer, Deron Williams, and Mehmet Okur. Such demotions rarely go well in the big ego world of the NBA.
  • Kirilenko signed a ‘max’ contract and then struggled with the burden of being a top-paid player. He’s not alone here. Kenyon Martin, Keith Van Horne, and Steve Francis have had similar problems dealing with all that bling. Group therapy, perhaps?
  • Coach Jerry Sloan and Jazz owner Larry Miller mean well, but their personalities can wear on players. Both Sloan and Miller have had run-ins with Kirilenko over the past few months.
  • You all heard about Kirilenko crying in front of reporters. He was upset about his declining minutes and shrinking role. There’s nothing wrong with crying in interviews. Just ask Kevin Garnett…

Trading Kirilenko won’t be easy. He hasn’t played well. He makes too much bank. He clashes with his bosses. And he has a rep for being soft.

Toronto, also known as the NBA’s United Nations, is an option. They were interested in Kirilenko last season. And the Lakers are desperate to appease , so something could happen there.

But the Jazz have told their forward to report to training camp. So don’t expect a trade to take place anytime soon.

What will happen with Kirilenko? Get at us in the comment box below with your thoughts.

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