Great Quotes: Andrei Kirilenko

“I don’t think the money is going to be an issue. I understand that I look at the world realistically. I understand my value is going to be a little lower than it is right now. I’m not worried about that. Money has never been an issue. It’s good to have a good contract and money. But my priority is basketball.”

— Andrei Kirilenko, via FanHouse.com

I don’t want to get on the guy too much here, because he probably doesn’t want to devalue his game, but he says his value is going to be “a little lower”?

Kirilenko’s contract is one of the more interesting deals in the game. He signed a six-year contract worth $86 million at the start of the 2004-05 season after averaging 17-8-4 with 1.8 steals and 2.8 blocks per game in 2003-04. But that was before Carlos Boozer arrived and Matt Harpring was the team’s second leading scorer. Since the addition of Boozer and, later, Deron Williams, Kirilenko has taken a back seat offensively and he has become one of the most overpaid players in the league.

But it’s not his fault that the Jazz paid him that much. In 2004, with the dearth of talent in post-Stockton/Malone Utah, he was just 23 and looked like a superstar in the making. His PER in 2003-04 was 22.79 and it even jumped to 24.44 the following season. Over the last three seasons, he has averaged in the 16-17 range, so he’s still an above average forward in terms of stats. He’s due to make $17.8 million next season and will become a free agent in 2011, at the age of 30. My guess is that the next deal he signs will be around the mid-level (~$6 million per season). So, yeah, his value will drop off a little bit.

The bigger thing to take from this story is that Kirilenko isn’t looking for a payday. He wants to stay with the Jazz — and that’s admirable.

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