The 30-year-old Russian center is calling it a career after playing for just a season in the NBA. This is surprising since he recently won a title with the Cavs as a backup big man.
Cleveland, meanwhile, traded him this off-season to the Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers immediately waived him afterward.
According to Gary Bedore of the Lawrence Journal-World, Kaun said that he started thinking seriously about retirement. And that the wide-bodied big mentioned that his ankle has been bothering him for so many years. Sasha reiterated his desire to retire by stating that he is “not going to be happy playing”. He also thinks that this is the right time to retire.
Kaun, a second round pick in the 2008 NBA draft by the Seattle Supersonics (Now Oklahoma City Thunder), played his college basketball at University of Kansas for 4 years. He was quite successful as part of the Jayhawks. This is also the team that he led to the championship of the 2006 Big 12 Conference. In addition, he also won a NCAA Championship with the team in 2008.
After his US NCAA stint, the towering center applied for the NBA draft. Sadly, he did not get to play for the teams that drafted (Seattle) and traded (Cleveland) for him yet.
He then went back to his homeland of Russia to play professional basketball in Europe. The team that got his rights is CSKA Moscow for a three-year contract worth 2,700,000 euros in 2008. After 7 seasons, he led his Euro team to the Euroleague Final Four for fourth straight season. Unluckily, the team was eliminated by Olympiacos in the semi-final game.
Moreover, he tried his luck in America once again. This time, he was able to get a team to sign him. Incidentally, the team that holds his rights is the team that signed him. He was signed by the Cavs on Sep. 9, 2015.
The tough and burly big man played sparingly in his only NBA season for the Cavs. But he sure made it count by becoming an NBA champion. This actually made him and his teammate, Timofey Mozgov, as the only Russians to win an NBA Title together.
Kaun added that he was very blessed and fortunate to play as long as he can play. And that he had a great experience while playing for the Russian national team and professionally. That he thinks that “Overall, it’s been phenomenal.”
Sasha said all of this in a conversation on the phone with the Journal-World from Colorado, where he lives with wife, Taylor, daughter Nika (3) and son Maks (9 months old) according to Bedore.
Photo courtesy: Artem Korzhimanov/Wikimedia