|02 January 2012|
BASKETBALL IN EUROPE
|The NBA lockout is over but Andrei Kirilenko has unfinished business in Moscow and will not be leaving his homeland anytime soon|
KIRILENKO STAYS PUT
A lot of a great European players are plying their trade in the NBA now that the league's lockout is over but one of the most famous of all, Andrei Kirilenko, has decided to remain on the old continent with CSKA Moscow.
A member of the All Tournament Team at EuroBasket 2011 after leading Russia to the bronze medal, Kirilenko signed a three-year contract to play for CSKA during the lockout and had the option to return once the labour dispute was settled.
According to CSKA, Kirilenko had "numerous offers from NBA clubs" but decided to finish the campaign with the army team.
"I considered different options, weighing all the pros and cons, and I came to the conclusion that I should finish this season with CSKA," Kirilenko said in a statement issued by the team.
"We have developed great team chemistry, a real team in the first part of the season.
"It would be incorrect to stop half way.
"It would be unfair towards my teammates and, more importantly, towards the fans.
"I know how many people count on me. To play for CSKA is a great pleasure and fun, and I will do my best to win all the tournaments that we are participating in."
CSKA will now be the title favourites in Russia, and one of the sides expected to reach the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four.
Kirilenko, who is a contender for the 2011 FIBA Europe Player of the Year, added: "I am thankful to the club's management for its patience in my difficult situation.
"Thank you very much to all the fans for their support! Come to our games to cheer for CSKA!"
The EuroBasket 2007 MVP and 2007 FIBA Europe Player of the Year, Kirilenko was the highest rated player in this season's Euroleague before hurting his shoulder and breaking his nose in a Russian PBL game in November.
In his contract, Kirilenko has opt-outs after every season.
DOKUZOVSKI BACK AT LUKOIL
Lukoil Academic have put the coach of F.Y.R. of Macedonia, Marin Dokuzovski, in charge of their team for the rest of the season.
Dokuzovski, who had a previous spell in charge of the Bulgarian giants from 2005-07, replaces Jovica Arsic at the helm.
Lukoil decided to make a chance after Lukoil's failure to advance from the Eurocup Regular Season.
Dokuzovski did a masterful job as the coach of F.Y.R. of Macedonia last summer, leading them to a fourth-place finish at the 24-team EuroBasket.
Their most famous win came against the hosts, Lithuania, in the Quarter-Finals.