Money Ain’t a Thang

IMAGE DESCRIPTIONPhoto. Gary Land

Forget going to another NBA team; Andrei Kirilenko wants out of Utah so bad he’s willing to stay in Russia and play pro ball there if he has to. “Trust me, I really am prepared to leave [the] NBA,” he told a Russian newspaper. “It certainly does not mean that I’m dying to go to Europe. I’m just ready.” That was just part of AK-47’s “tell us how you really feel” interview, where he also said, “The previous season let me understand that I cannot progress [in] Utah.” And apparently not afraid to put his money where his mouth is, AK said he’d be willing to forfeit the $63 million he’s got left on his Jazz contract if it comes to that. “I am prepared to go without it. This is a lot of money, even for an NBA club. So what. Maybe this money could go to pay for more players or for something else,” Andrei said. Man. A lot of times when guys say they want out of a situation, all it takes is a little sweet-talk from the organization/coach to smooth everything over, but Kirilenko is serious in this case. We wouldn’t have said this a week ago, but at this point we’d be shocked if Kirilenko is still with the Jazz come Opening Day … Not having any idea what kind of trades the Jazz might be interested in, which teams could use AK the most? Chicago has a lot of pieces; maybe they’d be an option … And since we know you’re wondering what Jackie Christie thinks of AK-47’s situation, here’s an excerpt from her blog: “Yes, $63 million is a whole lot of money and most would not even think about giving it back once it’s theirs,” Doug‘s wife writes, “But this takes me back to that thing called sacrifice. And in life, it is going to come up here and there. It must be chosen or not. Doug was injured and needed surgery one and a half years ago and finally had it done, but only after he made the decision to sacrifice playing to go under the knife. He knew it would be a very long road back and now he is ready to go.” Yeah, thanks for that. And if you’re counting, that’s a 100 percent success rate on Jackie’s posts of turning it back to Doug’s comeback attempt … Taking a page from AK’s playbook, restricted free agent Sasha Pavlovic is now willing to go to Europe if the Cavs don’t take care of him. If the two sides don’t reach a deal this year, Sasha would have to take the $2.7 million qualifying offer this year and become a unrestricted FA next year. But his agent says he’d be open to playing overseas if it’s going to reach that point … Straight from the source, here’s Greg Oden on the early stages of microfracture rehab … Ray Allen to the Boston Herald: “KG had the nerve to tell me his draft class was better. And after a while Paul sat down and told me I was right.” Did KG have a leg to stand on in that argument? Ray’s 1996 draft class has Kobe, Nash, Iverson, Steph, J.O., Camby, Abdur-Rahim, ‘Toine, Big Z and Derek Fisher, among others. Garnett’s ’95 class has Rasheed, Stackhouse, McDyess, Mike Finley, Joe Smith, Damon Stoudamire, Kurt Thomas and Eric Snow. So basically, no, KG is way wrong … If you haven’t been to High School Hoop yet, check it out. Yesterday we rolled out our Top 10 team rankings of the best high school squads in the country … Yesterday we caught a replay of the ’00 Western Conference Finals Game 7, otherwise known as the Blazers’ monumental collapse against the first Shaq/Kobe L.A. championship team. Looking back, that Portland squad was loaded, and it was with just young guys; they had a lot of quality vets like Scottie Pippen, Steve Smith, Detlef Schrempf and Arvydas Sabonis. Which made it even weirder watching how no one wanted to take big shots while the Lakers made their run. No one except for Rasheed, one of the younger guys. A couple things we’d forgotten until watching that game: Damon used to have braids back then, Shaq used to get up in the air, and Sabonis had a GIGANTIC domepiece … We’re out like AK …

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