Ross Siler of the Salt Lake Tribune talked to salary cap expert Larry Coon last week about ways the Jazz can kiss goodbye to the contract of the disgruntled forward. Here's what he found:
For starters, the Jazz can't just release Andrei Kirilenko. If they do, they're on the hook for the $63 million he's owed. As part of the contract, Kirilenko also is required to play for the Jazz. He has to show up for training camp, otherwise he'll be suspended without pay and fined.
Kirilenko also can't just decide he's done with the Jazz and is going to play in Russia this season. NBA teams and FIBA countries honor each other's contracts. That's why the Jazz had to negotiate a contract buyout with Kyrylo Fesenko's Ukrainian club.
(A great line I heard Thursday from someone with the Jazz was that Kirilenko would have to go to Iran or Malaysia if he wanted to sign with a team while still under contract in Utah. In fact, I'm sure there are people who would like to send Andrei to Tehran right now.)
If Kirilenko's serious about walking away from the $63 million he's owed, the Jazz could negotiate a contract buyout for an amount all the way down to zero dollars. That's what happened with Derek Fisher earlier this summer.
Kirilenko would be free to sign with another club and probably would lose $40 million at least when everything was said and done. They could negotiate a buyout for more money but the question is if Larry Miller wants to cut a check for someone NOT to play for his team.
But the Jazz would gain a large measure of salary-cap flexibility if they reached a reasonable buyout with Kirilenko. Unless the Jazz believe Kirilenko is going to be a $17 million player down the road, it's something they have to investigate.
Siler also reports that Coach Jerry Sloan has to be feeling a bit of heat at the moment, for a number of reasons. Interesting moment for the NBA's longest-tenured coach.