Kirilenko Says Kidd Couldn’t Handle Pressure Of Brooklyn

Jason Kidd’s sudden departure from the Brooklyn Nets certainly didn’t sit well with Andrei Kirilenko. In a wide-ranging interview concerning the state of his team, Kirilenko said that Kidd couldn’t handle the pressure that accompanies playing and coaching for Brooklyn.

In an eye-opening discussion with SovSport, a Russian sports paper, Kirilenko didn’t mince words when it came to Kidd. The 33 year-old Russian star said Kidd’s choice to leave the Nets for the Milwaukee Bucks was an “unequal trade-off.” Of playing in New York under owner Mikhail Prokhorov, Kirilenko said, “The pressure is huge. And Kidd couldn’t handle it… or maybe he didn’t want to.”

Kirilenko’s first season with the Nets didn’t go as planned. Considered a jewel of the 2013 free agent class, he played just 45 regular season games for Brooklyn and notched two DNP-CDs in the playoffs. According to Tim Bontempts of the New York Post, Kirilenko’s wife, Masha, took to instagram after the first time her husband was left on the bench during the postseason and voiced her displeasure with Kidd.

This isn’t the first time a Kirilenko has criticized Kidd over the last year. After the versatile forward was left on the bench for all of the Nets’ victory in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series against the Raptors this spring, his wife, Masha, took to Instagram to post a picture of her husband sitting on the bench with the caption, “… And are you Kidding like Jason,” which appeared to be a reference to Nelly’s song, “Hot in Herre,” which includes the line, “I’m just kiddin’ like Jason.”

Kirilenko was effective in fleeting moments with the Nets in 2013-2014, and seems primed for a bigger role this season. Not only is Kidd gone, but Paul Pierce’s exit leaves a void in the Brooklyn frontcourt that the versatile Kirilenko is uniquely suited to fill.

Kirilenko further bashed Kidd in throwing support behind new coach Lionel Hollins. “No one knows how we’ll play under Lionel. Maybe better. Maybe worse,” he said. “But one thing is for sure: Hollins, unlike Kidd, has huge experience as a coach. And he has an excellent understanding of what to do and how to develop the team’s playing.”

Kidd’s exodus from Brooklyn was met with eye-rolls and guffaws by coaches and executives across the league, and rightfully so. It’s nice to see one of his former players go on record with a similar sentiment, too.

Do you think Kidd wilted under the pressure in Brooklyn?

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