12:42pm: No buyout negotiations have taken place between Kirilenko’s camp and the team, sources tell Bontemps, adding that if a trade were to happen, it would likely not take place until after December 15th. Still, it appears “inevitable” that if a trade doesn’t happen, a buyout will, Bontemps writes, even though the Post scribe hears that Kirilenko’s leave of absence from the team isn’t related to his lack of playing time.
12:28pm: The Nets say Andrei Kirilenko won’t be joining them on their three-game road trip, notes Tim Bontemps of the New York Post, while a source tells Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News that a resolution to the situation likely won’t happen until Kirilenko is on another team (Twitter links). The Nets cited personal reasons for Kirilenko’s absence, and coach Lionel Hollins told reporters today that he doesn’t know if the 33-year-old forward will be return to the team once it gets back from the trip.
Kirilenko has only seen a total of 36 minutes of action across seven of Brooklyn’s 12 games so far this season, a sharply reduced role even from last season’s career-low 19.0 minutes per game. He signed a two-year deal for about $6.5MM in the summer of 2013 that was so far beneath market value that it sparked concern that he and fellow Russian Mikhail Prokorov, the owner of the Nets, had worked out an under-the-table arrangement. An NBA investigation cleared them of any wrongdoing. The deal contained a player option for this season worth more than $3.3MM that Kirilenko chose to exercise to remain with the Nets, but it appears as though his relationship with the team has suffered since he made that decision in June.
The Nets have Joe Johnson and Kevin Garnett starting at the forward positions and Alan Anderson and Mirza Teletovic backing them up. Kirilenko, in his 13th NBA season, has played both small forward and power forward, but it appears as though Hollins prefers to play others. Kirilenko, a client of Marc Fleisher, is eligible to be traded immediately, unlike many players in the league whose teams must wait until at least December 15th. The Rockets are reportedly seeking trades at an unusual time for such activity, and they and the Cavs have apparently been in discussions of late with the Wolves about acquiring Corey Brewer, who like Kirilenko has established a reputation as a strong perimeter defender.