Did The 76ers Welch On A Deal With Andrei Kirilenko?


Looks like things are getting ugly in Philadelphia for Andrei Kirilenko.

The former Nets forward left the team early in the season to attend to a personal matter at home, and the team sent him to the Philadelphia 76ers in a trade that seemed to make sense for all parties. But according to a report from the Philadelphia Inquirer, the 76ers may have reneged on their end of the deal.

Bob Ford reports, via two inside sources, that the 76ers & Kirilenko had a “handshake” deal to release Kirilenko and allow him to tend to his personal matter at the time of the trade, but 76ers GM Sam Hinkie never followed through, and has requested Kirilenko join the team. When Kirilenko declined, the team put him on the “Suspended List,” according to HoopsRumors.

Per the Inquirer:

“He might have an IQ of 150, but [Hinkie] doesn’t seem to realize you have to deal with these people over and over,” one league source said.

Could Hinkie have misinterpreted or misunderstood the alleged agreement with the Nets, who wanted to satisfy the desire of Kirilenko – a favorite of Russian team owner Mikhail Prokhorov – to become a free agent?

“No,” said another source. “I think he started thinking he can just hold onto him and use him at the trade deadline in a package to get something.”

Nets general manager Billy King and Hinkie both declined to comment on the record for this story, but a Sixers team source disputed the allegation.

“We made the trade to get the draft pick and in hopes [Kirilenko] might play for us,” the Sixers source said. “[Releasing him] was not a condition of the trade, but I have no idea what was said to him on the other end.”

Kirilenko is expected to stay at home with his wife, who is pregnant, until February. There’s no amount of posturing on Sam Hinkie’s part that will allow him to override Kirilenko’s relationship with his wife, and to assume he’d report for a 5-29 team to leave his family is laughable. Now that he’s suspended from the team, it looks like he’ll never report to Philadelphia. Will he end up somewhere else?

Philadelphia Inquirer — Sources say Hinkie reneged on agreement to release Kirilenko