HoopsHype Andrei Kirilenko rumors

September 16, 2013 Updates

Rivals owners and executives intimated under-the-table deals existed between Kirilenko and Russian countryman Mikhail Prokhorov, the Nets’ billionaire owner. At least one owner – possibly more – complained to the league. “When there is a formal complaint, the league will look into it,” said one league official who spoke in generalities and refused comment on the Kirilenko issue. The league launched its investigation, questioning participants. Nets officials were summoned — at one point on a weekend, usually a time off in the summer for league execs. “It was a very, very thorough investigation,” one source maintained. “They checked everything.” New York Post

September 13, 2013 Updates

The Nets had a harder time selling the team in Russia than you would think, despite having the first Russian and European owner. The lament was always if you only had a Russian player. Now, the Nets have not only any Russian player, but Andrei Kirilenko, they are trying again. Kirilenko, Irina Pavlova and Brett Yormark will head overseas next week and make the rounds of media and sports "influencers" not so much to sell sponsorships, but to re-introduce the team now that it has one of Russia's greatest player son its roster. NetsDaily

August 1, 2013 Updates
July 31, 2013 Updates

Literary devices aside, Simmons takes his shot at the Nets by highlighting the bargain basement acquisition of Andrei Kirilenko and suggesting alternative rationales for the Russian star to give up $10 million from the Timberwolves for $3 million from the Nets ... and Mikhail Prokhorov. "The scariest moment of the offseason: Andrei Kirilenko opting out of $10.2 million guaranteed for one more Minnesota season so he could sign with Brooklyn for $6.2 million over two years. Some NBA peeps are convinced that AK47 either (a) got paid under the table by Russian comrade Mikhail Prokhorov, (b) got charmed by the overwhelmingly charming Irina Pavlova into signing a bad deal, (c) secretly hired the agent Monta Ellis fired, or (d) made the decision while being dangled upside down from a Moscow helicopter at 10,000 feet." Simmons later concludes after considering all the possibilities, "I think they dangled him upside down from a helicopter." NetsDaily

But what about his thing with Irina. As any long time reader of NetsDaily knows, she has been very helpful to Nets fans and once posted comments on this very site. So we asked for her reaction. Here it is...as always, she is gracious, certainly more gracious than we would be. "Very nice of him... Obviously (b) is the only reasonable answer and therefore must be correct," the president of ONEXIM Sports and Entertainment emailed us. "I'm gonna a have a hard time arguing with Bill over anything after this.. :-)" NetsDaily

July 19, 2013 Updates

The NBA will not investigate Prokhorov's bold assembly of talent, capped off by the signing of Russian Andrei Kirilenko, unless and until another team files a complaint about it. And since the Cleveland Cavaliers, perhaps the single most aggrieved victim of tampering in the modern sports era, never got around to filing a complaint over the Miami Heat's free-agent recruitment of LeBron James in 2010, something tells me that any outrage over the Nets' signing of Kirilenko also will subside. CBSSports.com

The notion that the Nets did anything untoward to land Kirilenko is something that can only be entertained if you dislike facts. Kirilenko opted out of a contract that would've paid him $10 million in Minnesota next season and went shopping for a multiyear deal paying him in excess of $9 million per season. By mid-July, there were still no takers. The free-agent market had dried up. "Their ask was crazy," one team executive said of Kirilenko's salary demands during free agency. CBSSports.com

Nonetheless, the Nets faced sideways glances and unsupported allegations of some mystical side deal that teamed Kirilenko with Garnett, Pierce, Terry, Deron Williams and Joe Johnson on this latest version of an NBA superteam. "It's bull----," Nets GM Billy King said on Wednesday. "... If it wasn't a Russian owner and a Russian player, the questions wouldn't be asked." CBSSports.com

July 18, 2013 Updates
July 14, 2013 Updates

In his first comments since agreeing to join the Nets, Andrei Kirilenko tells a Russian publication that money was a consideration for him, but that he couldn't resist a chance to win a championship. He admits as well that both Mikhail Prokhorov and Deron Williams were big in helping him make up his mind, and that although there was a "family debate" on what to do, "it became clear that a combination of factors won Brooklyn a landslide victory." NetsDaily

As for the controversy, Kirilenko dismissed it. "It is foolish to say that - to even think about it. Masha (his wife) and I were arguing about it: which is better - to go for a lot of money or play wherever you want, and try to achieve something big. I have in my career earned decent money. Even indecent (laughs). And to not use this chance, which is available with the Nets would be wrong. Gone are the days when I would had have a desire to earn more." NetsDaily

July 13, 2013 Updates

Kirilenko can opt out of this deal before the 2014-15 season, so it's not as if he's taken a vow of poverty. Still, it's interesting to see one of Russia's wealthiest men and its most famous basketball player prioritizing an NBA title over a few more rubles. "I give him credit for it," Kirilenko's agent Marc Fleisher told The Wall Street Journal. "He said 'I've made well over $100 million in my career. The difference isn't going to change my lifestyle so, let me pursue the ability to possibly win a title.'" Wall Street Journal

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