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If not ‘Melo, Nets may eye Andrei Kirilenko this summer

Jan 19, 2011, 10:26 AM EDT

Andrei Kirilenko

The New Jersey Nets are in full-out Carmelo Anthony mode.

They move to Brooklyn in two years and see the Knicks as their rivals and competition. They also see a resurgent Knicks led by Amar’e Stoudemire and feel the need to counter that with their own star. Someone who can be the marque name to open their new building in Brooklyn in 2012.

Anthony is that guy, he is the target.

But if not, the New York Daily News suggests the Nets next other power forward will be Russian.

If the Nets fail in their bid to get Anthony, the kind of superstar Prokhorov wants playing in Brooklyn, Net fans might get to see their future small forward, anyway. The Jazz’s Andrei Kirilenko is a free agent this summer and knows Prokhorov well enough that the two have dinner in Russia when Kirilenko goes home every summer. According to Nets sources, Kirilenko is on the team’s radar as a potential player and front-office official.

Kirilenko is a good player (when he can stay healthy) but he is no Carmelo Anthony. Not even close.

But as a guy who can help be a bridge for the franchise and the league to the Russian market, he may be invaluable. So I can see that. But they need to be careful not to overpay for what he can really bring, the Nets don’t need heavy contracts that set back the multi-year rebuilding process.

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