Two different sources told me earlier tonight that former Utah Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko, who is currently under contract with CSKA Moscow (but has an out clause effective for 30 days), would seriously consider signing with the Kings if he returns to the NBA. The catch is that the wiry, athletic Kirilenko, a native of St. Petersburg who would be a wonderful complement to a frontline featuring DeMarcus Cousins and John Salmons, is thoroughly enjoying the opportunity to play in his native Russia. Unlike the other NBA players who returned to the United States shortly after the lockout ended, Kirilenko stayed with CSKA. One scenario is that he remains overseas for the shortened season and returns to the NBA next year.
But, again, keep two things in mind: Kirilenko's agent, Marc Fleisher, represented Vlade Divac when the Kings icon became the first significant free agent to sign in Sacamento for the transformative 1999 season - and we know how Vlade feels about the community. Additionally, fellow Europeans Peja Stojakovic and Hedo Turkoglu have nothing but good things to say about their time in Northern California. Peja's brother, Nenad, still lives here, and Hedo has often expressed a desire to return. Not saying it will happen. Just saying that if Kirilenko decides to come back, the Kings are deeply in the mix.
About Chris Paul and the Clips
The notion that NBA executive Stu Jackson (former Grizzlies GM, New York Knicks coach) and league attorney Joel Litvin are handling the Chris Paul trade negotiations for the league-owned New Orleans Hornets is troubling, awkward, embarrassing to Hornets GM Dell Demps, a complete conflict of interest. We totally get that. But count me in the minority who did NOT think the Hornets cleaned up in the aborted trade that would have sent Kevin Martin (28), Luis Scola (31) and Lamar Odom (32) to the Hornets.They would have been valuable additions to a contending team, but in my less-than-humble opinion, those are not pieces around whom to build a franchise (see Hornets). I love their basketball skills, don't love their collective ages.
Historically, teams trading young stars almost never receive anything close to value. And the Clips know this better than almost anyone, by the way. Tom Chambers, Terry Cummings. At least Danny Manning had torn a knee ligament before he was swapped for an over-the-hill Dominique Wilkins. We'll leave it at that for the moment.
That said, if I was bidding to buy the Hornets? I would tell the league to jump at the deal ESPN is reporting is close to being finalized: Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman, Al Farouq-Aminu, Eric Bledsoe, Minnesota's 2012 unprotected first-round draft choice, and possibly additional draft picks.
Sac's Zach Andrews suits up
Former Cordova High standout Zach Andrews will wear No.21 with the Lakers. While growing in Sacramento, essentially "couch surfing" and homeless, he was a huge Divac fan. I suspect there is a connection there .....