I guess if Raja Bell and Blue Edwards could come home, so could Andrei Kirilenko.
But I doubt it.
The former Jazz forward was quoted this week by Reuters, saying that returning to Utah is an option. His first option among NBA teams.
This season he played in Russia for CSKA.
“I have a huge history with the Utah Jazz and they are a priority for me among the 30 teams competing in the NBA, while CSKA are just as close to my heart in Europe and when the Final Four is over I will weigh my options and make a decision,” he said.
While Kirilenko brought unusual skills to the Jazz, he also brought frustration. His game was inconsistent and he feuded with Jerry Sloan over playing time as he bounced in and out of the starting lineup. By the time he left after last season, it seemed his run was over.
Now he’s talking about possibly coming back. On the positive side, he’s a good citizen and a known commodity. On the down side, he’s 31 and losing some of the skills that helped him fill up box scores. But with C.J. Miles likely leaving as a free agent, could the Jazz use A.K.?
What makes this interesting is that he once offered to refund the Jazz their money if they didn’t like how he had played. It’s possible he would play in Utah for far less than the $17 million he made with the Jazz. He and his wife often said they liked raising their kids in Salt Lake.
The Jazz certainly don’t need him for $17 million but what about $1 million or $2 million?
With his best days behind him, and Gordon Hayward able to play both forward and guard, and DeMarre Carroll set to re-sign, and Jeremy Evans waiting to soar, the A.K. scenario isn’t likely to take flight.
Even if he does want to return to Utah, it’s out of his hands. The Jazz would have to extend an invitation.
As the A.K. used to say with a shrug, “What I can do?”