In case you wanted the definitive answer to whether Andrei Kirilenko will be returning to the NBA for next season after his prospective Euroleague MVP year with CSKA Moscow, well, you’ll have to wait just a bit longer.
Last week, Kirilenko made a few brief remarks to Greece-based Eurohoops.net; within this interview, the AK states that “I think next year I’m going to move back to the NBA,” adding that “I feel that I have a couple more years of great, great basketball in me and I think the NBA is still the best at this moment.”
But. Just this week, BallinEurope contributor David Hein ran an excellent and extensive interview with the former Jazzman on his heinnews.com (part one may be found here; part two is linked below) in which, upon touching on innumerable subjects, Kirilenko comments on his future plans … with slightly different estimates and emphatic feeling.
“I was always saying that I would love to play in the best league in the world. So, yes, in the end of the season I will consider all the offers from the NBA again,” Kirilenko told Hein, but, more significantly, “that does not means I will definitely go.”
Also of note in the heinnews interview is Kirilenko reckoning that “I think I still have three to four years of highest-level basketball in future.” Further, European fans may be slightly disheartened to read that he “was never thinking about slowly finishing career somewhere. As soon as I see I don’t belong to the best in the world I will retire.”
Could this possibly be AK-47’s last turn on the Continent, then…? And also, may the speculation begin on Kirilenko’s NBA destination. (Oh, please, make this Lakers fan’s dreams come true…)