Veteran forward Andrei Kirilenko has decided to opt-in and remain with the Brooklyn Nets for another season.
Andrei Kirilenko opts in with Brooklyn for next season at $3.3M, per source. Second year of two-year deal worth $6.5M.
— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) June 23, 2014
The return of Kirilenko means several things for Jason Kidd and the Nets. Despite having his worst statistical season as a pro last season, Kirilenko is still a valuable commodity. Kidd will have the services of a versatile player at his disposal for another season.
Despite his diminishing skills and athletic ability, Kirilenko still has a high basketball IQ that helps keep him being an effective player on the court. Often times you will see Kirilenko finding an open spot on the court, slashing to the basket when opponents don’t expect it or setting screens to free up teammates.
One of his best attributes is heart and hustle. It’s rare that you ever see Kirilenko give up on a play. He fights for rebounds, plays hard-nosed defense and always ends up diving on the floor for loose balls. Defensively, you will rarely find him out of place or getting beat by not watching his opponent.
Kirilenko provides even more veteran leadership to a team filled with playoff tested veterans. He’s been in the league for a long-time and has experienced practically everything but a run to the Finals.
There is no question he has lost some of his offensive ability. He has never been a great shooter and he now has trouble creating anything for himself. He’s now much slower and cannot get by opponents off the dribble, either.
He also had difficulty staying on the court for the Nets last season. Kirilenko missed 37 games due to a variety of injuries, most notably back spasms.
Still, if healthy, the Russian-born veteran can be a pest for opponents with all the little things he does right on the court. He is simply unlike many players left in the NBA. Few teams have a player who is as versatile with such a high basketball IQ.
The Nets are surely happy to have Kirilenko back for another year.