After opting out of his $10.2M contract with the Timberwolves to test the waters of free agency, Andrei Kirilenko proved correct that another team would want him, but proved wrong that it would be for more money. Andrei Kirilenko has signed a 2 year contract with the Brooklyn Nets for their mini-mid level exception, which is worth $3.18M for this season, and about the same amount for next season. This move reunites Kirilenko with his former Utah Jazz teammate Deron Williams.
This move is costing Kirilenko $7M this season, which certainly doesn’t seem to be the right financial move. But the Brooklyn Nets don’t care about that, and for them this is a great deal. After talks with 2011 draft pick/small forward Bojan Bogdanovic broke off with his Turkish team Fenerbahce Ulker on agreeing to a buyout for this season, the Nets desperately wanted to find another small forward, and they certainly have found a guy in Kirilenko who will fill that role.
Kirilenko is a jack of all trades type player who can score, rebound, block shots, and play both the small forward and power forward positions, as well as guard nearly all positions on the defensive side of the ball. Getting such a versatile player for the mini-mid level exception is a steal for the Nets as far as I am concerned and certainly is reason for the Nets organization and their fans to be excited. In 64 games for the Timberwolves last season, Kirilenko played 31.8 minutes per game, averaging 12.4 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.5 steals, and 1.0 blocks. Those aren’t bad numbers for a guy who is getting paid the amount of the mini mid-level exception. It is obvious he wasn’t worth $10.2M for this upcoming season, but he certainly is worth more than $3.18M.
One interesting twist in this story is that the Nets’ owner Mikhail Prokhorov has had his eyes on Andrei Kirilenko ever since he purchased the Nets due to Kirilenko being a fellow Russian. I’m quite confident that the happiest person about this deal is Prokhorov since the two things he likes most, aside from women and private jets, is winning and having fellow Russians to talk with. Kirilenko will certainly help satisfy both of those wants.
—Ben Parker: follow me on twitter @nba_lord