INSIDER – Andrei Kirilenko returning to the NBA

Former Utah Jazz player Andrei Kirilenko will return to the NBA according to his coach at CSKA Moscow. Kirilenko had a fabulous year in the Euroleague.

Kirlenko was the Euroleague MVP, the defensive player of the year and of course 1st team all league. He lead the Euroleague with 24 pts, 7.2 rebounds and 2 blocks and 2 steals a games. He was the league only player to rank in the top 10 in all of those categories.

Euroleague keeps track of fouls drawn and he ranked 4th in that category.

The Utah Jazz still maintain the Bird Right’s to Kirilenko meaning they can sign him for whatever they wish regardless of their positioning in the salary cap. I was under the impression from people that the Jazz could sign and trade Kirilenko but according to Cap Expert and CBA expert Larry Coon the new CBA says you can’t sign and trade a player who wasn’t on your roster last season. Still some confusion on the rules of the new CBA.

If the Jazz are unable to sign and trade Kirienko then he can only get more than the MLE (Mid Level Exception) from teams with cap room (read: Sacramento and New Jersey). However, with the signing of Wallace Kirilenko may be a duplicate player.

The inability to sign and trade actually may increase the chances the Jazz sign Kirilenko because of other teams limited ability to give Kirilenko big money.

There have been numerous false alarms that he has a deal done with the Nets.

Kirilenko is now 31 years old having played professional and often year round for since he was 16. In his final three years of the NBA he played just 67, 58 and 64 games.

A year away may have given Kirilenko’s body a break, however at 31 his health is major concern.

The Jazz interest in Kirilenko will likely be determined by how many years other teams are willing to offer the oft injured forward.