Andrei Kirilenko back to Europe?

League sources said Saturday night that Kirilenko — if he and his $3.3 million contract clear waivers as expected — is eyeing a potential return to European basketball as opposed to resuming his NBA career. There are a handful of teams stateside still interested in pursuing him, sources say, but Kirilenko has not yet made it clear whether he’s prepared to consider fresh NBA offers.

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But NBA executives, players and talent evaluators interviewed by The Times felt differently. They would not criticize Bryant on the record, almost universally citing respect for a career in which he won five championships and set a standard with a maniacal work ethic and drive. This Bryant, however, is not the one they want to remember. “Man, I don’t want to see Kobe go out like this, looking this bad and not able to do what he once could do,” said a retired guard who faced Bryant. “He doesn’t have anything else to prove to anybody. He was one of the greatest. I know he’s owed that $25 million, but he should just walk away now. He ain’t got it anymore.”
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