At least until the season is over, Utah Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko is probably free from being asked if he still wants to be traded, as he had told a Russian Web site in September.
"Guys, deadline is over. I'm here," Kirilenko said prior to Thursday's Jazz practice in preparation for tonight's 8:30 MST game at the Los Angeles Clippers.
Actually, there was still two hours to go before the deadline when he said that, but it turned out to be right, and Kirilenko seemed just fine with that.
"Well, I'm happy I'm on Jazz," he said.
"Nobody likes to be traded, that's for sure. We have a pretty good team, and we're playing pretty good, and you know I don't think anybody wants a tough decision, especially when the team is playing good. We're playing great quality of basketball, so that's good."
Asked again if it was true that he had once asked for a trade, Kirilenko said, "Well, I don't like to talk about it. Just bad point."
The Jazz did not make any deals Thursday, though they had hoped to find a long interior defender, and they will finish the season with one of the youngest teams in the NBA but one that has won 19 of its last 22, ever since it made the trade for Kyle Korver Dec. 29.
Kirilenko did not finish Thursday's practice. He was sent home with "flu-like symptoms." He had said prior to practice that he was OK, but one of his sons was sick. He was listed as a "game-time decision" for tonight as the Jazz seek their fourth-straight win.
Utah returns home Saturday to play Atlanta and newly acquired Mike Bibby in EnergySolutions Arena.
Kirilenko's coach and teammates were happy he is still with the team, though Jerry Sloan, Carlos Boozer and Deron Williams had said repeatedly earlier in the week that they didn't expect any trades.
Said Sloan with whom Kirilenko had expressed unhappiness last spring and again last fall in Russian publications and who reportedly made some concessions to Kirilenko last fall "That's one of the things that we've always been pretty consistent about is that we don't like to trade players.
"If we make a mistake trying to deal with them, we try to work it out. It's not that we're infallible or we don't make mistakes. We make mistakes every day."
Sloan seemed pleased with Kirilenko, who has worked diligently to improve his shooting and who has voiced no more public complaints since training camp began.
"Andrei has played much better than what he did (last season) to help us win games. He's working trying to help himself become a better player.
"He's seemed to be upbeat in what we do in practice every day. He hasn't shown any animosity toward me or anything else. He's tried to do his job, and that's all we ask."
Sloan also reiterated that he likes to have content players.
"I'm always happy when a player is happy and is able to play well. That's my job," he said.
"I'm definitely happy he's here," said Williams, the point guard who admitted last year he sometimes passed to other players who were more likely to make shots. "We love him on this team. I think he's a great part of this team. A reason we're so successful is the way he's been playing all year."
Boozer noted that the September discord wasn't easy.
"That was a tough time, especially for Coach, and I think for us, because we thought we had a good run last year (to the Western Conference Finals) and wanted to come back, but Andrei is playing great this season," he said, calling Kirilenko "a big part" of Utah's current run.
Boozer had nothing but good to say about Kirilenko, the person, and said that has been consistent.
"AK's always been, off the court, the same way always been a great guy, always been very fun, always, you know, having team events at his house, always been a great teammate.
"But basketball-wise, he's better this year than he was last year. I think we can all agree on that," Boozer said.
Kirilenko said that, even in September, he would have put his odds of being a Jazzman for the full season at 100 percent.
"I have a contract, and you know, I have 3 1/2 more years, so I'm a Jazz player, and nothing has changed."And now, "We're playing pretty good. That makes you feel even better."
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