David Aldridge, TNT Analyst
Posted Jul 11, 2013 8:36 PM
The Brooklyn Nets took a shot in the dark Wednesday that they could convince free agent forward Andrei Kirilenko to take $3.1 million next year to play for them when he walked away from $10 million in Minnesota.
The gamble paid off.
Kirilenko agreed to a two-year deal Thursday with a player option for the second year, adding to the Nets' acquisition of talent this offseason. He will join Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry, who all came from Boston in the June mega-trade with the Celtics, as Brooklyn continues to go all in to try and win now.
Kirilenko didn't want to play for a rebuilding team that could have offered more. He also was concerned that proposed sign-and-trade deals with good teams that could have netted him more money could have dried up in the next few days.
Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, like Kirilenko, a Russian native, did speak with Kirilenko during the courtship. But the chance to win was just as big a factor as nationalistic pride.
"At this point of his career, he's fortunate to have made a lot of money," said Kirilenko's agent, Marc Fleischer. "And while money is important, I think they convinced him that signing with a team that had a chance to win -- and that had Russian ownership -- was too good to pass up."
Asked what he would tell people who wondered why Kirilenko would play for $7 million less next season, Fleischer said, "the same way Ray Allen walked away from a lot more money to play for the Miami Heat. And it worked out for Ray."
Kirilenko tallied 12 points, six boards and three assists per contest for the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2012-13.
Longtime NBA writer Peter Vescey first reported the Kirilenko deal with the Nets.
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