The Philadelphia 76ers traded for the Brooklyn Nets’ Andrei Kirilenko in early December, but Kirilenko has yet to suit up for the 3-23 Sixers.
Kirilenko is staying in the New York area because of a family-related health issue, but Kirilenko and his agents have also told the Sixers that he doesn’t want to play for the team, Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports.
They’d prefer the Sixers waive or buy out Kirilenko, so he’d be paid the remainder of his $US3.3 million salary and become a free agent immediately.
However, Sixers GM Sam Hinkie told Kirilenko and his camp that the Sixers have no plans to buy him out, so they’re asking him to report to Philadelphia to get in shape and get ready to play, Yahoo reports.
It’s turning into a bit of an awkward stalemate. According to Wojnarowski, the Sixers have said they’d be accommodating to Kirilenko’s family issue and they believe Philadelphia’s proximity to New York allows them to help him. Kirilenko, meanwhile, seemingly has no interest in playing for a lottery-bound team, and as a free agent this summer, he probably doesn’t want to risk injury in meaningless games.
If the situation becomes dire enough, Philadelphia can actually mandate that Kirilenko come play for them.
According to Wojnarowski, the Sixers probably have little interest in keeping Kirilenko past the trade deadline, but by getting him to play, it could possibly increase his trade value, thus making him an asset for the 76ers to use.
Kirilenko hasn’t played since November 13.
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