Andrei Kirilenko considering retirement?

Andrei Kirilenko
Andrei Kirilenko (AP)

Andrei Kirilenko
Andrei Kirilenko (AP)
Andrei Kirilenko was past his prime by the time he joined the Nets, and his tenure with the team was more notable for him off the court than on it. He struggled with back spasms in the first two months of 2013-14, and a personal matter kept him away from the team for all but five games this past year until the Nets dealt him to the Philadelphia 76ers in December.

There were a ton of factors that contributed to Brooklyn’s second-half surge during the 2013-14 season, most notably Kevin Garnett willingly adapting to playing center and Shaun Livingston flanking a rejuvenated Deron Williams in Brooklyn’s backcourt. But having a long, intelligent defender like Kirilenko didn’t hurt, either, and the team went 30-15 in games he played.

David Pick reports that Kirilenko has decided to retire from basketball after not being selected to play for Russia in FIBA Europe:

ESPN’s Mike Mazzeo reported that Kirilenko said via email that retirement is “under consideration”:

Kirilenko left the NBA earlier this year to finish his career with CSKA Moscow, and has often talked of a retirement timetable between 2015 and 2017.

Even if he decides to keep playing, it does seem that Kirilenko’s time in the NBA has finished. Kirilenko was one of the league’s unique players: a small forward that led the league in blocks and filled up the box score in his prime like few others. He recorded a “5×5” game — putting up at least five points, rebounds, assists, blocks, and steals — three times in his career, more than anyone except Hakeem Olajuwon (6). No other player has put up more than one.

Most of Kirilenko’s highlights came from what he created off the ball, whether in the form of a fancy pass or two or a nifty steal that led to a dunk.

If you want to learn more about Kirilenko’s basketball IQ — and how he developed it en route to a stellar NBA career — read the below feature on his defense, which started from learning offense in Russia.

The Anatomy of A Stopper: Talking With Andrei Kirilenko, the off-ball superstar