Where Does Andrei Kirilenko End Up Next Season? The Downbeat - #524

   Andrei Kirilenko could be one of the bigger names to play for a team overseas should the lockout persists.  As an unrestricted free agent, he doesn't have to worry about a contract conflict.  Via HoopsHype, we find this interview on TalkBasket.net in which he states that he's considering several clubs,

Are you considering returning to Russia?

Due to the lockout I have the opportunity to play for my friends, relatives and Russian fans who live in Russia. They would love to see me playing in Russia. Of course I'm not considering only Russia, but for example ACB too. That's the strongest European league. I would like to test myself there. But it's still early to talk about any particular teams. My agent is going through the teams so that he can suggest a shortlist of teams I could be interested in, in a couple of weeks. It's a delicate process. I must be interested in the team and the team playing style must suit me. The most important factors for a player are the team coach, team targets and organisation. My family is the priority in my life. I will decide taking into account all the above parameters.

Unlike other NBA players that may head across the pond, Andrei may just elect to stay there.  He would get some serious offers from NBA team once the lockout is resolved.  Unless he's done with the NBA, he would likely have a provision where he could opt out of any deal he signs with another league where he could return stateside.  

  I completely forgot about just how crammed the schedule was after the 1999 lockout.  Steve Luhm has an excellent look at how the last lockout affected the chances for the Jazz to make one more run for the title,

The '98-99 season, in particular, was filled with expectations.

After losing to Chicago in the Finals for the second time, the Jazz roster remained virtually intact.

Antoine Carr and Chris Morris did not return, but their minutes were given to improving youngsters Greg Ostertag and Shandon Anderson.

Veteran Thurl Bailey was signed to provide additional depth.

Another factor?

Nemesis Michael Jordan, who scored 84 points in Chicago's clinching wins over Utah in the '97 and '98 Finals, had retired.

You've likely already read the rest or remember the rest.  The championship that year went to the Spurs who had snagged the #1 seed from the Jazz.  San Antonio went on to beat the Knicks in 5 games that year for the title.  The Jazz didn't play the Knicks that season but they did beat New York both times in the previous season.  They would have had a good shot had they made it.  However, they couldn't get past the Blazers who beat them in 6.  Isiah Freaking Rider of all people took down the Jazz in that series.

After that, the Jazz didn't quite have the horses to contend again.  As Luhm pointed out, they still had decent seasons but other teams had passed them by.

Several teams in the league now sit in a similar situation as the Jazz.  As Brian T. Smith points out, teams like the Lakers and Celtics have aging rosters which could lose a season and another shot at a title.  Coincidentally, the Spurs now fall into that same category and the Jazz are the young up and coming team.  They're not going to be contending for a title but they're a team poised to emerge.

  Moni takes a look at whether Karl and Kay Malone are actually running in The Amazing Race.

    If the league institutes and amnesty rule like they did in 2005, who would the Jazz release?  Would Memo be the player?

Utah Jazz:
This one is easy as the Jazz would be foolish not to release Mehmet Okur who is entering the final year of his contract that will earn him almost $10.9 million in 2011-2012.  There are serious questions about his health and the Jazz have solid depth up-front with Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Derrick Favors, and 2011 first round pick Enes Kanter.    

A team still has to pay the player but this would save the Jazz a bunch of cash because of the luxury tax hit.

  Monday open poll...  If the league does implement an amnesty clause provision, who should the Jazz use it on and why?

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