JAZZ: Kirilenko demands trade
Posted: 9:04 PM- With the Jazz set to report to training camp in less than two weeks, Andrei Kirilenko's summer of discontent apparently came full circle Tuesday in the form of a trade demand that echoed in Russian and English.
Barely 48 hours after leading Russia to gold at the European championships in Spain, Kirilenko wrote in a blog post on the Russian Web site Sport Today that he was ready to leave Utah after six seasons.
"In a week, I need to join the Utah Jazz again, but quite frankly, I'm not really happy about that," wrote Kirilenko, who was named MVP of the EuroBasket tournament. "The past season was bad for me and I was really disappointed.
"I've thought about it a lot and I came to a decision. I want to leave Utah Jazz. The European championships that just ended became sort of a test for me and now I think I know what I want to do."
The blog post - available at http://www.sports.ru/blog/kirilenko - was translated by a member of Tribune staff.
The Jazz would face large obstacles in trying to trade Kirilenko, their highest-paid player owed $63 million on his contract through the 2010-11 season. They also face untold distractions as they open the season trying to build off a conference finals appearance.
Kirilenko also revealed that he approached Kevin O'Connor, the Jazz's senior vice president of basketball operations, a few weeks ago and asked to be traded. O'Connor did not return multiple messages Tuesday night.
" 'I told him that I don't see myself in the team and want to leave," Kirilenko wrote. "Quite clearly, Utah and me see my place and role in the team differently. I don't want myself and my contract to be a burden for the club. I want the club to continue in its own direction."
"It's their choice. I have only one request: Let me, myself, go in the direction I want to go. I don't want to be there and mechanically fulfill a contract."
A source close to Kirilenko said he did not believe such a conversation with O'Connor took place. But Kirilenko wrote that he hadn't heard anything back from O'Connor or the organization in a week, which he took as a sign of disrespect.
"There's no response negative or positive and this silence is just one more evidence of the way they treat me," Kirilenko wrote. "Nevertheless, I'm really hopeful that Utah Jazz leadership will understand that our relationship is over and it's time for us to part ways."