September 21, 2007
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Disgruntled forward Andrei Kirilenko is apparently willing to accept any option that will get him away from Utah.
Whether he really has any choices will be up to the Jazz.
Kirilenko repeated his trade request to a Russian newspaper, saying he is unhappy playing the structured style Utah coach Jerry Sloan demands. Unfortunately for Kirilenko, the $86 million deal he signed three years ago has him under contract with the Jazz through 2011.
"For the past two years I've been going on the court and acting like a robot," Kirilenko told Russia's Sport-Express in a story published Friday. "When I signed my contract the future looked completely different -- I thought I would play, win and get pleasure from it. Unfortunately, this is out of the question now -- even in successful games. This is the worst feeling."
Kirilenko, who just led Russia to the European championship, said he is even considering leaving the NBA and signing with a European team. But he can't do that while Utah still holds his rights.
And the Jazz may not be very agreeable when Kirilenko's request is based primarily on his deteriorated relationship with Sloan, who is entering his 20th season as Utah's coach. The team's only comment since Kirilenko went public this week has been that he is under contract and expected to be there when practice begins on Oct. 2.
Even team owner Larry Miller, who is openly critical when he's not happy with a player, is not commenting on Kirilenko's request.
Unless Kirilenko and agent Marc Fleisher, who did not return messages Friday, can work out a buyout or persuade the Jazz to trade him, Kirilenko's only options will be to sit out or return for a seventh season in Utah.
"Anyway, while my contract with the Jazz is in place, I don't have the right to negotiate," Kirilenko said. "I think there will be offers. But it's meaningless to talk about that now."