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Andrei Kirilenko bows out of qualifying, next Olympics for Russia

Feb 22, 2013, 1:03 PM EDT

Russian forward Andrey Kirilenko scores Getty Images

Russia brought a strong team to London — led by Andrei Kirilenko and Alexey Shved, with the very respected Dave Blatt as coach, the Russians took home the bronze medal.

But they are going to have a very different team in Rio. First Blatt left the team and now Kirilenko is saying he is going to take this Olympic cycle off.

That’s what has been reported at FIBA.com (hat tip to Rob Mahoney at SI’s The Point Forward for finding this).

“After the All-Star Weekend, RBF President Alexander Krasnenkov and the Player of Russian national team Andrei Kirilenko had a discussion, and Andrei announced his decision not to play for the national team during the next Olympic cycle (four years)….

“I have made the decision, though to be honest it wasn’t easy,” Kirilenko said in the RBF statement. “Playing for honor and a responsibility all these years, I was proud to be part of the team.”

Russia is one of a few teams that will look a lot different in Brazil compared to London. At the top of the list is Argentina — it’s golden generation with Manu Ginobili, Luis Scola, Carlos Delfino, Andres Nocioni and Pablo Prigioni all likely gone will be a radically different squad.

Team USA will be different too because Mike Krzyzewski will not be coaching it. Who steps into that role remains to be seen, although the most commonly discussed names are Gregg Popovich (who they should take) and Doc Rivers (who is a good fallback).

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