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Andrei Kirilenko: Jason Kidd ‘couldn’t handle’ pressure of coaching in New York

Jul 20, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT

Andrei Kirilenko Andrei Kirilenko

Andrei Kirilenko played sparingly for the Nets last season, due to a combination of dealing with injury and not being that high on then-head coach Jason Kidd’s list of favored players.

Kirilenko averaged career lows in points, rebounds and minutes played, but shot a career high percentage from the field in 45 regular season appearances.

He obviously feels like he could have contributed more, and placed the blame on the now-departed Kidd for having a lack of coaching experience and an inability to deal with the pressure associated with running a team in the nation’s largest market.

From SB Nation’s NetsDaily:

As he has previously, Kirilenko seemed to diss Kidd, at one point suggesting he may not have wanted to deal with the pressure of coaching in New York,  “So the pressure is huge.  And Kidd couldn’t handle it.  Or maybe didn’t want to.”  He called the team’s second round exit a “lack of success.” (Kirilenko’s wife, Masha, publicly criticized Kidd for not playing the veteran in the playoffs.)

The criticism got harsher, more so than in previous interviews.

“Basically he was not able to do much of anything, if you look at the big picture – we have to admit that fact,” says Kirilenko,  throwing his arms open.  …

“When Kidd became head of the team, no one really knew what to expect,” he added. “Of course he had colossal experience as a player but no coaching experience.  Or reputation.  At the beginning it was difficult.  What else could it be when you’re losing more games than you’re winning?  Things were a bit easier for me as I was injured at the time and couldn’t be on the court and do anything about it, no matter how much I wanted to.  So, inside, I was calm.”

It’s worth pointing out that this was excerpted from a lengthy interview conducted by SovSport, and as always, we need to be careful putting too much weight into words that could have easily seemed more harmless in the native language in which they were originally spoken.

But none of this is exactly groundbreaking, right? Kidd was inexperienced, and he did struggle in the first couple of months on the job. Kirilenko being so open about it is the interesting part, but given his less-than-perfect relationship with Kidd due to his lack of playing time late in the season, it shouldn’t really come as too much of a surprise.

  1. cruzan80 - Jul 20, 2014 at 3:42 PM


    • ans2034 - Jul 21, 2014 at 1:45 PM

      Damn…AK. We were all thinking it, but you said it!

  2. Mr. Wright 212 - Jul 20, 2014 at 3:46 PM

    He’s right…

  3. scratchnsniffnblog - Jul 20, 2014 at 4:01 PM

    In Soviet Russia, wife gets YOU new Coach.

  4. j0esixpack - Jul 20, 2014 at 4:02 PM

    That pretty much covers it. Don’t fault the guy for speaking the truth. Frankly he was downright diplomatic.

  5. rrhoe - Jul 20, 2014 at 4:06 PM

    Well,Kidd won’t have to worry about pressure in Milwaukee, that’s for sure…..

    • sportsfan18 - Jul 20, 2014 at 4:27 PM


      And Milwaukee has a German population, not really a Russian one so he doesn’t need to worry about “The Russian” (Prokhorov) or the little Russian Kirilenko.

  6. eugenesaxe1 - Jul 20, 2014 at 4:28 PM

    Considering all the AARP members on the team, they didn’t need a coach-and he still botched it.

  7. djlexluger - Jul 20, 2014 at 4:46 PM

    Deron Williams sucked too but hey blame the coach.

  8. jacobk621 - Jul 20, 2014 at 5:07 PM

    Brigitte Nielsen !!

  9. cscamp20 - Jul 20, 2014 at 5:49 PM

    I couldn’t agree more with Kirilenko. I was scratching my head as to why Kidd benched him in the playoffs.

    Maybe Kidd didn’t like ANdre’s dismal free throw shooting last season. I mean it was as horrible as shaq but he could still make huge difference on the defensive side.

  10. luz56 - Jul 20, 2014 at 6:13 PM

    They guy is a real POS everywhere he’s been… Wish the media would call it as they know it with this guy

    • bkbell3 - Jul 21, 2014 at 1:35 AM

      I agree to some extent, He is long, tall and skilled and his whole career he is either hurt or sick. Also to often in games he just floats around and disappears and does nothing. Kidd may have sucked but he lost his center in lopez and andrie and williams and a bunch of guys were hurt and dinged up or played like crap. He did adjust the line up and the second half they played good but andrie needs to keep his mouth shut and try to play a full season and maybe contribute something other than hot air. And he should muzzle his wife also.

  11. ProBasketballPundit - Jul 20, 2014 at 6:16 PM

    Kidd went to Milwaukee for the same reason we all want to be in Milwaukee… Mallory Edens.

  12. onbucky96 - Jul 20, 2014 at 6:43 PM

    AK-47 is a tool. Go back to Mother Russia Comrad.

  13. onlyavoice - Jul 20, 2014 at 6:47 PM

    Kirilenko is just upset because players bolted as soon as Kidd did & now no one wants
    to sign there. He also thought that because his boss is a Russian that he would be
    the star attraction.

    • Kevin S. - Jul 20, 2014 at 9:11 PM

      Livingston left for a deal the Nets didn’t have the ability to match, and they didn’t offer contracts to Pierce or Blatche. The Nets have no cap space to sign anybody. Way to understand the situation, though.

  14. 00maltliquor - Jul 20, 2014 at 6:55 PM

    Boo-yah! Shots fired! From the AK47!

  15. jadaruler - Jul 20, 2014 at 7:17 PM

    Viggo is mad that he doesn’t have it any more. Stay in Russia and chop wood shirtless with Vlad. Its a wrap.

  16. smackingfools - Jul 20, 2014 at 7:58 PM

    They should’ve kept Avery. He was fired way too soon.

  17. divan22 - Jul 20, 2014 at 9:06 PM

    Same morons who think Dwight Howard left LA because it was “too much pressure” will jump on this bandwagon too I suppose.

    Kidd left for more money and guess what? He got it! And if the Bucks don’t show vast improvement he’ll be canned soon enough.

    Can’t handle pressure? Try being a Hall of Fame NBA point guard for 20 years.

  18. urodaddy07 - Jul 20, 2014 at 9:36 PM

    I’m not sure I’d accept everything AK says, sounds like these 2 didn’t have the best relationship. That said, it was obvious that Kidd had a very rough start. I give him a lot of credit though for getting his team to play good defence and especially with this old squad. I don’t think a bad coach could do this. He also found a way to get by on D. Will’s bad ankles. This was not a great line up in my mind and I think he did pretty good as a first year coach. I think his main problem may be a lack of scruples and a tendency to be divisive

  19. mungman69 - Jul 20, 2014 at 10:07 PM

    Who’s gonna be worse next season? The Nets?, The Knicks?

  20. mungman69 - Jul 20, 2014 at 10:07 PM

    Who’s gonna be worse next season? The Nets?, The Knicks?

  21. basketballfool - Jul 21, 2014 at 10:25 AM

    Utah made this guy a millionaire, In his rookie year and maybe the next year he played like an all star. Then like most players when he got a max contract and got oodles of money, he backed off and became the baby he is today I got a ou-eee, my fingernail hurts. Happens to a lot of players Darron W got max and he became god. I think if the players don’t play they don’t get paid. If I don’t come to work I don’t. Oh we can give them sick leave HAHAHAH.

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