Sunday , Sep , 23 , 2007 Oly Sandor

Andrei Kirilenko Can’t Play In Europe, Can He Return To Utah Jazz After Deron Williams’ Comments?

He can’t quit on his $63 million contract and escape to Europe. And, after comments from his starting point guard, he might not be able to return to the Jazz’s dressing room. Welcome to Andrei Kirilenko’s world …

He can’t quit on his $63 million contract and escape to Europe. And, after comments from his starting point guard, he might not be able to return to the Jazz’s dressing room.

Welcome to ’s world. In case you missed it, the stat-stuffing forward has put himself in a tough spot. A few days ago, he publicly requested that trade him-even threatening to walk on his ‘max’ NBA contract and play for a club side in Moscow.

Hold on AK-47. Contrary to what the Russian forward thinks, the Jazz own his FIBA rights, so Utah would have to grant him permission to play for Moscow or any other European team. That’s not happening-ever.

So Russia is a no. But returning to the Jazz just got a little more complicated. , the team’s star table-setter, blasted Kirilenko through the media.

"You see Booz after practice shooting for 25 or 30 minutes. You see Memo shooting for 20 minutes. You see, you know, all the rookies. The young guys. You saw [Rafael Araujo] in there working. [Then] you see Andrei being the first one out the door."

"If he’s (Kirilenko) coming off a screen on one side and Matt [Harpring] is coming off a screen on one side, who do you think you’re going to pass to?"

 "You think you’re going to pass to the guy you see working every day in the gym or are you going to pass to the guy who never works on his shot but yet wants to shoot ’em every time?"  (Salt Lake Tribune, Steve Luhm)

To be fair, Williams said he would welcome Kirilenko back. And as point guard he had to get his teammate the ball in positions that suited his game. But the Team USA back-up finished his interview by questioning Kirilenko’s work ethic.

Williams’ comments could very well be true. And, in some respects, it’s a positive that he wants to speak publicly as team leader. But this is a case of wrong place, wrong time. Nothing is gained by complicating the situation with controversial comments, especially when dealing with an overly-sensitive teammate.

After all, AK-47’s issue is his role. The Russian wants to be The Guy. And Williams told the media that won’t happen.

"I love Andrei – like him as a player, like him as a person. He can definitely be a special player for us. But he’s not going to average 20 points a game." (Salt Lake Tribune, Steve Luhm)

Again, Williams didn’t mean any harm. I just don’t think he was careful with his words. And that has made things worse for Kirilenko and the Jazz.

Should Williams have commented on Kirilenko’s trade request? Get at us in the comment box below with your thoughts.

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