posted on Oct, 28 2004 @ 02:58 PM
$86 million extension must be signed by Sunday
Andrei Kirilenko and the Utah Jazz have come to terms on a six-year, $86 million max contract extension, sources close to the negotiation told ESPN
Insider Chad Ford on Thursday morning. The agreement must be signed by Sunday, Oct. 31, the deadline for players who began their rookie season in 2001
to sign extensions.
Jazz GM Kevin O'Connor declined to comment.
As Insider first reported Oct. 22, the Jazz would defer some of the money beyond the six-year term of the deal. Under collective bargaining
guidelines, up to 30 percent of a player's compensation can be deferred. That would allow the Jazz to enjoy a significant savings over the life of the
contract. The two sides finished working out the details of the deferred money on Wednesday, paving the way for the deal to be signed this weekend.
The contract would run through the 2011 season.
Kirilenko could become just the third player to get a max extension this offseason. Kobe Bryant of the Lakers and Pau Gasol of the Grizzlies were the
others. Gasol has had a portion of his contract deferred beyond the six years of the deal.
While $86 million might seem like a lot of money for a player who averaged 16.5 points and 8.1 rebounds per game, Kirilenko ranked third in the NBA in
blocks per game and fourth in steals per game last season -- a rare feat for any player.
The Jazz initially balked at paying the 23-year-old Kirilenko the max but found themselves in a difficult position once Gasol signed his extension.
Many league insiders believe Kirilenko is a better player. He already has made the All-Star team, and at least one key stat suggests he's one of the
most valuable team players in the league.
Kirilenko ranked fourth in the league last year in the critical plus/minus stat, behind only Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan and Shaquille O'Neal. The
plus/minus stat measures how a player's team performs while he's on the floor and while he's on the bench. Because plus/minus has nothing to do with
individual statistics, teams value its ability to reflect a player's impact on the game.
So far, only four fourth-year players have signed extensions: Gasol, the Nets' Richard Jefferson (6 years, $76 million), the Grizzlies' Shane Battier
(6 years, $37 million) and the Bobcats' Primoz Brezec (3 years, $8.25 million).