Report: 76ers break promise to release Andrei Kirilenko
The Philadelphia 76ers have failed to release forward Andrei Kirilenko, despite telling him they would do so upon acquiring him from the Brooklyn Nets in December, Bob Ford of The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
After Kirilenko left the Nets because of a family issue involving his wife, he was traded to the 76ers for a second-round draft pick and reportedly told that he would be released. He had been unable to travel outside of New York because of his wife's health and said the issue wouldn't be resolved until February.
It was reported at the time that Kirilenko would be released, but Ford reports 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie has refused to cut him. Chuck Myron of HoopsRumors.com reports the team has placed him on the suspended list for not joining the team. Despite having 15 players on their roster, the 76ers acquired Jared Cunningham from the Los Angeles Clippers earlier this week before waiving him. Philadelphia would not be able to acquire Cunningham if it had 15 players, supporting the report that Kirilenko is on the suspended list.
A member of the 76ers organization refuted the notion that the team ever agreed to waive Kirilenko as part of the trade, Ford reports.
"We made the trade to get the draft pick and in hopes [Kirilenko] might play for us," the Sixers source said. "[Releasing him] was not a condition of the trade, but I have no idea what was said to him on the other end."
Kirilenko, 33, is in the final season of a two-year contract. He played in just seven games for the Nets this season as he struggled to gain playing time in first-year head coach Lionel Hollins' rotation. Last season, he averaged 5.0 points and 3.2 rebounds in 19.0 minutes per game.
The 76ers currently hold a 5-29 record.
- Paul Palladino