Wednesday, September 19


No doubt you've read by now how Andrei Kirilenko wants to be traded away from "Robot Coach" Jerry Sloan and the Utah Jazz. Aside from the fact that his wanting out of Utah instantly makes him one of my favorite players, does it make sense for the Sonics to pursue the former all-star? After all, he's on the hook for four more seasons and $63 million, so it's not as though we're looking at a quick pick-me-up. Add in the fact that the Sonics aren't going to realistically compete for the playoffs anytime soon and, well, ...

As I see it, the Sonics have only one hope of acquiring AK-47, and that's by dealing away Kurt Thomas and some draft picks. Cap-wise, a deal including Kurt Thomas, Damien Wilkins, and a #1 pick (maybe a future Suns' pick?) MIGHT be enough to make it happen. The Jazz acquire a player Sloan might like (Wilkins) and a player he would definitely like (Thomas), plus Thomas' contract expires this June to boot. Add in the benefit of shedding themselves of AK's contract and malcontentedness as well as the pick, and it's a possibility. I'll look at how Kirilenko would fit into the Sonics' roster later on, but be aware that any deal involving Thomas will be held up for about two months because he was recently acquired via trade (however, I'm not 100% sure of that; for some reason I had the idea that players acquired via trade where they are the only player moving don't have a trade restriction; on the other hand, says Thomas has a trade restriction, so who knows).

Anyway, it's a starting point for discussion, so feel free to offer your opinion on whether the Sonics ought to acquire AK.


Anonymous said...

Gotta say, the idea of AK47 alongside Green and Durant is pretty enticing. If Swift materializes into a decent center that can block shots, a front line of Green at 3, AK at 4, and Swift at 5 is tough to score on. THe other domino is Chris Wilcox, though. If AK is here, it doesn't make sense for the Sonics to keep Weezy around any longer, b/c Collison will get all of the backup minutes, right?

Joseph said...

Durant+AK47 = Inspector gadget + Mr incredible. They would be the skinniest high flyers around. Mismatch problems would aboutnd. Unfourtantly any forward who weighs more than pugsley from the Addams family will muscle his was into things very easy. They would definitly thank the Blazers for shipping bowling-ball Randolph across the country and out of their division. . .

Anonymous said...

For several reasons, Andrei Kirilenko wouldn't be a good fit with the Seattle Supersonics.

Anonymous said...

Having Jeff Green and AK47 would be a bit of a double-up and they would be competing for minutes. I'm not convinced that Kirilenko would still be in his prime at the same time as Durant hits his stride, so it would mess up the window of opportunity we're aiming at too. I think the Nets (Jefferson) or the Wizards (Jamison) are better fits for all involved.

mcwalter44 said...

AK-47 is a solid player, who thrives on help defense. The problem is if you deal Thomas to get him, then you're relying on a combo of Swift/Pedro/Colisson/Wilcox/AK to cover the 4 and 5 positions. That pushes Green to play the 3 and Durant to play the 2. In a perfect world you would get a player who is a big defender at 5 so that a combo of Colison/Wilcox/Green can play the 4 and Green/Durant can rotate at the 3 and Durant/West/Szczbiak at 2.

Personally, I'd prefer to hold on to Thomas and us the cap space next season to lure an FA or perhaps help facilitate a sign and trade.

Below is a like to potential free agents, both restricted and unrestricted, in the summer of 2008. Granted this list was posted in June of 2007 and doesn't include the D. Howard contract extension.

Top 6 guys I'd rather bring in instead of AK (note this list won't include guy like Agent 0 and JO, because they'd never sign here). This list in no particular order.

Emeka Okafor (restricted) - C
Andris Biedrins (restricted) - C/PF
Fabricio Oberto - C
Jose Calderon - PG
Nenad Krstic (restricted) - C
Monta Ellis - SG/PG

Granted the Sonics will also have Thomas, Gerebale as unrestricted FAs, as well as, Swift and West as restricted FAs.

My plan would be this. To hardball both Swift and West and see we can get them back cheap. Then go heavy on Okafor, Biedrins or Krstic to be the primary Center. If we have to dole out for Swift, then I'd shift focus on getting a guy like Calderon or Ellis to play the point and then use our first round pick to address the 5. Over all, I think this much better then give up draft picks to taken on the salary of AK-47, especially since his best positions PF/SF are filled by the core the franchise Collison/Green/Durant.

Steven said...

AK is better than everyone on your list, by far. He can play defense, and we need that. He can shoot from outside, and we need that. he can open up the floor for durant, and we need that. He can cover all those hybrid forwards, thus freeing durant to focus more on offense than defense, which we need. He is not just another white guy - like schfler - he is the russian dirk.

I just bought season tickets for the first time ever and would gladly double my payment if we could land AK.

mcwalter44 said...

Slasher, you're crazy... AK-47 isn't and has never been anything close to Dirk. As I stated, he's a great help side defender, but not as great of a one-on-one defender. As a GS Warriors season ticket holder a I got to see Utah once in regular season and several times in the playoffs. AK-47 had difficulty playing defense in that entire series let alone this offensive struggles, so much so, that he spent more and more time on the bench as the series progressed. He struggled with guarding Stephen Jackson, who isn't the greatest player in the world. So to claim that he's a great hybrid-player might be a bit of an over statement. In fact, I'd say the much of the hype around him stems from fantasy basketball were the guys is a potential 10-5-5-5-5 type guy. Last season he averaged 8.3 pointer game, ya 8.3 freaking point!!!

Here's a players link from yahoo sports

Career stats averages
31 MPG
46% FG
30% 3PT
76.1% FT
6.2 Rebs
2.6 Ast
1.5 Stl
2.5 Blk
2.5 PF
12.0 PPG

These numbers scream Shane Battier like production. So why would we want this guy for 16 million a season? Hell for that much we could have justified bring back Lewis (granted he didn't want to come back) and get much more production than getting AK-47.

Don't get wrong, I think AK-47 is fun to watch and I'd love to see him on the Sonics, but his salary is a killer. The guy is getting paid

Anonymous said...

Keep in mind, McW, that last year was the absolute nadir of AK's production in the NBA. He's been much better than that his whole career, and last year I think it was a combination of him playing out of position (SF), and him not liking Sloan/Sloan's system all that much.

As for the Battier comparison, well, I think you're off there. AK's has consistently averaged 3+ blocks a game in his career, while Battier's right around 1 or so. That's a HUGE difference. Add in the extra half-steal and the extra 2-3 boards AK gets every game (not to mention the 4-5 points per game he averages above Battier), and you can see why Kirilenko's been 1st or 2nd-team all defense three times and Battier never has.

Hey, Battier's a fine player, and he's severely underrated by fans and the media. He's a better shooter than AK for sure, but that's about it. AK is a great player; don't go by his horrible season last year, go with the other 5 years of his career.

Steven said...

Scoring in Sloan's offense is never an indicator. Malone could have scored a lot more if here we not un Utah. Before last year's 8.3 PPG, he averages 15.3 in 05-06, 15.6 in 04-05, 16.5 in 03-04. He get about 3.5 APG before last year, rebounds at about a 7.0 clip, blocks over 3 shots per game, and has a solid SHP and FTP. He also stea;s nearly 1.5 bals per game. All this on 10 SPG!!!!!

Last year, his SPG went down from 10.6 to 6.0 because sloan adjusted the offense.

His downsides are that he's been injured. Is turnover prone, and get to be a cry-baby when he does not get his way.

To have AK from ages 26-30 is amazingly good. He will be a star in this league once he leaves Utah.

mcwalter44 said...

Just for point of reference. I went off of AK-47 CAREER stats to point out that he, statically speaking, isn't that much better that Battier. Rather every just thinks that he's much better because he is a good help side defender that likes to leave his own man wide open in order to fly in and block shots. When faced with a team with a penetrating point guard who can find the open man (Nash, Parker, Davis, Kidd, etc) then it could lead to nightmares that Sonics fans haven't had since the days of Majerle in PHX and Maxwell in HOU touched Karl's match up zone defense.

As I said before AK's no better offensively than Battier, yet I'd trust Battier on defense more than I would AK. Also, by having AK on the floor for the Sonics would expose their perimeter defense (or lack there of) from the guard position. If people think AK-47 going to come and play center, then they're living in a fantasy world. He's not a center, hell, he's not a PF. If you look at he saw 47% of the Jazz's total mins at SF and only 4% at PF. In 05-06 season he saw 43% of mins at SF and 23% of PF mins (that with Boozer be out half the season). In his rookie season he did play more at PF with 20% of Jazz minutes there and 17% at SF. As you can see as AK-47 career has progress Sloan and Jazz found out that he's a much better wing player than a post player. Considering we just land two of the best 5 players from the 07 draft and that both players are wing players. Then why would we want another wing player, other than to add depth at the position. If we're going to acquire a guy for depth I'd rather not get saddled to AK's contract.

Nuss, you do make good points about not going off last season. First of all he average a career low in points, when in the prior two season he average 15 ppg. This mainly can be attributed to a low start and poor coaching by Sloan who insisted on sitting him rather than letting him shot out of the slump. Maybe it was the new ball that screwed him up, who knows, all we do know that he was screwed up the whole season. However, one other thing was that he played a career high in games played last year too. His prior two season were dramatically cut short via injury where he played only 41 games and 69 games respectively. Last season AK played 70 games plus all of the Jazz's playoff games.

Again, do get wrong AK-47 is a solid player and if his contract wasn't 13.7m for this season, and subsequently 15m in 08-09, 16.4m in 09-10 and 17.8m in 10-11, then I'd be all for acquiring him. I think having Thomas around would be much better than bring in AK and his pre-mondona attitude. What happens when he doesn't get as many shots as he wants (which is other grip along with minutes in Utah)? He can't handle D. Williams being the star in Utah, what make us think he'd act any different with Durant and Green?

Anonymous said...

It's hard to read a guy's mind, but I think the biggest problem for AK is Jerry Sloan and his stagnant style of play, not AK's role in the offense. As a European (and this is really a stretch and I'm totally guessing here), maybe he's just frustrated with their predictable offense, and he'd rather be playing in a more free-flowing style of team. (And I hate to pick on you, but it's PRIMADONNA. At least you're not saying premadonna, although that was worth a good laugh).

All that aside, AK's full of risks. Injury risk, attitude risk, etc, etc. And for his price tag, that's a big pill to swallow. I wouldn't blame anyone for taking a pass on Kirilenko, and it's a perfectly reasonable side to take, but remember that he's just now entering his prime seasons of 26-30; it's not as though the Sonics would be taking on a guy like Ray Allen who is entering the decline phase of his career.

Anonymous said...

Bring in Okafor, we need some toughness on this team. Collisons toughness PALES (lol) in comparison to Okafor.