Could Andrei Kirilenko Return to a Vastly Different Utah Jazz?

By Ryan Heckman


Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Jazz are in an interesting position going into the start of free agency. With so many veterans likely on their way out, the team is filled with youth and in need of veteran presence. Their two biggest names, Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap, are going to sign elsewhere and will leave a gaping hole behind.

The team is very high on Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter down low, but they are both still very young and raw in some areas. The Jazz also have Gordon Hayward who has shown promise to become a solid piece of the franchise, but still needs a bit of direction and push in the right way.

Trading for Michigan point guard Trey Burke was one of the smartest things any team was able to do on draft night. Burke will get ample playing time without a doubt, especially with Mo Williams on his way out.

With all of these young guys, there is going to have to be a couple of veterans brought in this summer to help bring along the youth movement. One of the names that has been brought up is former Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko, who opted out of the final year and $10 million on his deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

In a rather shocking move, Kirilenko has left a lot of money on the table. For this reason alone, I don’t know if Utah will be interested in him. He appears to want to play for a contender and the Jazz just aren’t close at the moment.

The only way I see Kirilenko interested in Utah and vice versa, is if the Jazz can somehow land a big name veteran to pair with him. Kirilenko would be welcomed back by the fans, I’m sure, as he was always a favorite. He can do it all, virtually, and would be a fantastic resource for the young players on the team.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the Jazz are not said to be interested at the moment — but that could change. If the market for Kirilenko diminishes quickly due to a potentially high demand in salary, a return to the Jazz wouldn’t be the craziest option available.

Ryan Heckman is a Senior NBA Writer for Follow him on Twitter  @ryanmheckman, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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