Kirilenko not going to be happy camper with Jazz

Kirilenko not going to be happy camper with Jazz



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By DOUG ALDEN AP Sports Writer

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Andrei Kirilenko has about two weeks to savor Russia's European basketball championship before reporting to training camp with the Utah Jazz.

The fun could stop there.

If Kirilenko thought he was unhappy last season, wait until he reports to training camp Oct. 2 after apparently venting about the Jazz in a blog on a Russian Web site.

An entry attributed to Kirilenko on www.sports.ru says the former All-Star wants to be traded from Utah, where he has gone from being the keystone of a rebuilding team to a frustrated role player.

"The last season was unsuccessful for me and was seriously disappointing. I've thought a lot about this and come to the decision that I want to quit Utah," according to the blog entry, which was translated by the Moscow bureau of The Associated Press.

Kirilenko's agent, Marc Fleisher, did not return phone calls Wednesday from The AP.

Kevin O'Connor, Jazz vice president for basketball operations, said he was familiar with the blog but would not talk about how it could affect Kirilenko's future.

"He's got a contract and we expect him to honor it," O'Connor said.

Kirilenko's unhappiness has been brewing for a while and surfaced during the first round of the playoffs. He broke down in tears at a practice in Houston after complaining about his limited role in Utah's offense.

Once his emotions settled, however, Kirilenko said he would be happy no matter his role if the Jazz were winning. The team advanced to the Western Conference finals, and Kirilenko wasn't much of a factor.

He averaged 9.6 points and 5.2 rebounds in the playoffs as the Jazz relied almost entirely on Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer, which led to some bitter comments in the locker room after San Antonio eliminated Utah, 4-1.

Without giving names, Williams accused some teammates of starting vacation early. Kirilenko was asked about it as he was cleaning out his locker and declined to comment.

Kirilenko, one of the last remaining players from the Stockton/Malone era, signed a six-year, $86 million deal three years ago that made him Utah's highest-paid player.

That agreement could be a big hurdle if he wants out of Utah because other teams might be unwilling to assume the contract, which runs through 2011.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.) APTV-09-19-07 1649MDT

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