Andrei Kirilenko inactive vs. Heat

Andrei Kirilenko

Andrei Kirilenko
Andrei Kirilenko (AP)
The Brooklyn Nets have put Andrei Kirilenko on their inactive list for the first time this season, the team announced prior to their Monday night game vs. the Miami Heat.

It marks a precipitous decline for the 6’9″ forward, who once was arguably the best and most versatile defender in the NBA. Kirilenko struggled with back injuries last season that kept him out of 37 regular season games, but the Nets were 30-15 in the games he did play, and he often made the little “behind-the-box-score” plays to help put the team in a position to win.

But Kirilenko has struggled mightily in his second season in Brooklyn, providing little help in his precious few minutes, and struggling to keep up with basic game speed. He has played just 36 minutes in seven games, missing all five of his shots in that time.

The team has not reported any injury or illness for Kirilenko, though he admitted in preseason he struggled with back pain, missing some practices in the beginning of training camp. Kirilenko joins fellow Russian forward Sergey Karasev on the inactive list.

Kirilenko picked up his player option in the offseason, guaranteeing him $3.2 million in 2014-15. He is an unrestricted free agent after this season.