Sep 16, 2013, 3:46 PM EDT
When Andrei Kirilenko opted out of a $10 million in the last year of his contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves only to sign a $3.1 million deal with the Brooklyn Nets, a lot of eyebrows went up around the NBA.
Kirilenko, who is Russian, left $7 million on the table to sign with an owner who just happens to be a Russian billionaire? That struck plenty of people around the league as a little more than a coincidence. A lot of people thought there was an illegal side-deal here. They pretty much pictured something like the Russian oligarch from the DirecTV ad, right down to the miniature giraffe.
Kirilenko would be far from the first free agent to misjudge the market (which tightened this year thanks to the increasing luxury tax) and his own worth. Kirilenko’s agent told the Post that the problem was the other offers they had (for more money) involved putting together far more complex sign-and-trade deals, while signing with the Nets put him on a contender on a one-year deal (he has the option for the second) and was doable.
You can choose not to believe that, there are plenty around the league who would join you in your skepticism, but proving it is something else entirely. The league could not do that so AK-47 is part of what is a deep and interesting Nets team this year.
- Reports: Paul Pierce agrees to three-year, $10 million contract with Los Angeles Clippers 13
- Report: LaMarcus Aldridge rules out Lakers in free agent decision 94
- Reports: Phoenix Suns sign Tyson Chandler, re-sign Brandon Knight, try to reshape roster 10
- Kevin Love will return to Cavaliers, contract is reportedly $110 million over five years 77
- Report: Spurs reach deal to trade Tiago Splitter to Hawks, create cap space for LaMarcus Aldridge offer 27
- Report: Heat, Goran Dragic agree to five-year deal worth $90 million 46
- Report: Paul Millsap had midnight meeting with Orlando, will decide between Magic and Hawks 17
- Report: Blazers, Damian Lillard nearing agreement on five-year max contract extension worth $120 million 17