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Andrei Kirilenko scoffs at Russian conspiracy theory

Aug 1, 2013, 1:11 PM EDT

Andrei Kirilenko AP

You have heard the conspiracy theory by now: Andrei Kirilenko opted out of the $10.2 million final year of his contract with Minnesota to sign with the Brooklyn Nets for the taxpayers midlevel exception of $3.1 million (he signed a two year deal). Around the league there are plenty of executives convinced there is something shady here, that the Russian owner of the Nets Mikhail Prokhorov set up a side deal where Kirilenko is living in a gold-plated home like the Russian oligarch in the DirecTV commercial, right down to the miniature pet giraffe.

Good luck proving it, but much like the second shooter on the grassy knoll there are some taking this as fact.

Kirilenko brushed off the entire idea in a conversation with Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News.

“I opted out not because I wanted to sign with the Nets. At that time, I wanted to be in Minnesota for a long time. But there was a change in Minnesota. I respect Flip Saunders decision, but he decided not to sign me for a long time. I can’t do anything about that…

“I can’t do anything with what people think. I’m coming from the facts. I can’t change it. I can’t control it. …Those type of rumors I can’t control. And I guess it comes from the history because of the Russian KGB. It makes it a little funny. What can I do?”

What else can he say? You are going to believe what you want to believe regardless of what he says.

Adding AK47 off the bench makes the Nets more dangerous, a deeper team with a little more athleticism along the front line. I’ve got questions — can they keep Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce healthy? Can Deron Williams play up to his Utah form again? Can Jason Kidd coach? — but they are dangerous. Kirilenko sees them as contenders.

“The Nets right now is very completed. Every position you have a player who is an All-Star and know how to compete on that level. There’s no recipe right now on how you’re going to beat one team, how you’re going to beat another team, because it’s just a game. But I think because you have those kind of guys who have been there, very experienced guys who have played Game 7 many times, I’m not worried about how we’re going to compete against Miami, how we’re going to compete against Indiana. It’s going to a lot of hope about how quick we can mesh, and not only in locker room because I’m not worried about the locker room, but how quick we can understand each other – how fast we can connect with each other, how fast we can adjust.”

  1. bballnut50 - Aug 1, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    AK47 U will be missed here in Minny. Flip should have paid U…

    • gofuccyourselfflorio - Aug 1, 2013 at 2:50 PM

      seriously bballnut50? did you read where it says he opted out of 10.2 million? and then the part that said he took 3.1 million from the russianets?

      • money2long - Aug 1, 2013 at 8:11 PM

        i hear u , and even though AK opted out of 10 large, it was for a reason and flip didn’t give him what he was looking for. had flip given him a 3 yr deal, i think he’d still be in minnesota.

    • cbt22 - Aug 1, 2013 at 4:46 PM

      Adelmen isn’t a fan and he wanted a long term deal. He isn’t that great of an outside shooter any more and doesn’t fit as well in the system.

  2. felser - Aug 1, 2013 at 3:00 PM

    Kirilenko’s “explanation” makes absolutely no sense given the numbers involved.

  3. bjerkrulez - Aug 1, 2013 at 3:18 PM

    he just wants to be in a contender team.period.
    when age is catching up on a player, their priorities change.

  4. asnatcha - Aug 1, 2013 at 3:23 PM

    That’s like saying LeBron’s decision to go to the Heat instead of staying with the Cavs is suspect. That would have made him a well more then 10 million dollars over his career. Gimmi a break. Sometimes players just want to win.

  5. alexb1234 - Aug 1, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    no man towards the end of his career gives away $7 million in guaranteed money….ring or no ring…if he wanted to prove he was just trying to get a ring he wouldve signed for one year then maybe i would have bought his whole statement of “The nets right now is very completed”

  6. hollywood26 - Aug 1, 2013 at 4:00 PM

    I think he felt unwelcome in Minny and so he went to bolt to another team only to find out the market wasn’t there for a long term. All things considered you go with the best chance to win. So when Ray Allen joined and resigned with the heat for less than he could get on the market did anyone yell conspiracy then?

  7. kanemoney - Aug 1, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    If he played out the next year of his option and then signed for vet minimum he would make more money. So no logical person would think his explanation holds up. This has ‘wink wink’ written all over it.

  8. bballnut50 - Aug 1, 2013 at 5:25 PM

    Hey “gofuccyourselfflorio” I did read!! U think he is NOT getting paid millions by the Nets owner under the table???please… Flip should have paid him!!

  9. cmehustle - Aug 1, 2013 at 10:51 PM

    We must break the Heat. And we will definetly break the Knicks next season. For the first in a long time, I cant wait is being said by Nets fans.

  10. snipedanglecelly13 - Aug 2, 2013 at 11:10 AM

    I think the nets are being a little overrated lol

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