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Friday, July 12th, 2013 at 3:35 pm  |  60 responses

Andrei Kirilenko’s Brooklyn Nets Deal Suspicious to Rivals


According to Andrei Kirilenko’s agent, there’s absolutely nothing shady about his $3.1 million deal with the Brooklyn Nets and owner Mikhail Prokhorov (this, after opting out of a $10 million contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves.) Fans, media, rival players, front-office executives and team owners aren’t so sure about that. Per Yahoo! Sports: “The rest of the NBA had resigned itself to billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov’s relentless pursuit of players and playoff success, absorbing it all until the Brooklyn Nets are pushing an unprecedented $185 million in payroll and punitive taxes. From Deron Williams to Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce to Joe Johnson, these Nets embody the spirit of the Russian’s imperialistic vision. [...] The signing of Russian free agent Andrei Kirilenko – a $10 million-a-year player last season – for Brooklyn’s $3.1 mini-midlevel exception has transformed rival owners and front office executives into an angry mob of disbelievers. The insinuations are unmistakable: Around the NBA, there are calls for the commissioner’s office to investigate the possibilities of side deals and Russian rubles ruling the day – for now, unfounded charges based on circumstance and appearances. Within the NBA, there had long been those promising that deals would start popping up involving Prokhorov that made no fiscal sense, theorizing that high-end players could take less within the constraints of the salary cap and still make up the difference in clandestine pacts. Once the Russian billionaire convinced a superb Russian player to take $7 million less to be a backup to Pierce, the rest of the NBA’s reaction was instant and uproarious. For the first time now, the Nets have truly arrived as a contending franchise. They’re good, with a chance to be great, and the rest of the NBA wants an investigation. ‘Brazen,’ one Western Conference GM said. ‘Let’s see if the league has any credibility,’ one NBA owner said. ‘It’s not about stopping it. It’s about punishing them if they’re doing it.’ Another Eastern Conference GM: ‘There should be a probe. How obvious is it?’ The telephone calls and text messages kept coming on Thursday night and Friday morning, and the reason was simple: Few trust Prokhorov to honor the NBA’s salary-cap rules and regulations. He made his $15 billion fortune in the wild 1990s in Russia in what he called, ‘cowboy territory with no sheriff.’ Bribes were part of the business culture, and Prokhorov confessed to his part in it. It is easy to make the accusations, but harder to prove that Prokhorov and his management did anything but a solid sales job after the free-agent market had dried up on Kirilenko. When it comes to uninhibited spending and free-agent coups, the modern NBA has a long list of targets. Understand something else, too: Plenty of American-born owners, running respected franchises, have come under these suspicions, too. Charges of side deals didn’t start with Prokhorov and won’t end with him. Nevertheless, this is the second time there’s been questions about the Nets’ signing of a foreign free agent below market value. A year ago, Brooklyn agreed on a full midlevel-exception deal with Euro forward Mirza Teletovic on a three-year, $15.7 million contract. Shortly after the agreement, Brooklyn realized it needed to alter the exception slot to still keep open the chance for cutting a trade for Dwight Howard. Without re-entering the market, Teletovic accepted a three-year, $9 million deal at the mini midlevel.”

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  • Caboose

    Seriously? Of all the sh!tty trades that have happened the past couple years, and THIS is the shady one?

  • Mike Gilbert

    I know we always complain about paragraphs on slam, but this one is ridiculous.

  • Allan

    Prokhorov told AK: “What would Zangief do? He’d play for the Nets”

  • Mike Gilbert

    I mean he is taking a HUGE paycut. like 7-8 million right? That should at least raise a little suspicion. Plus they are both Russian…lol

  • LLC#12

    If, say, an Italian, or Spanish, or Australian, or British owner, managed to sign Gallinari, or Gasol, or Bogut, or Deng, for much less than they are worth, would it cause this much uproar? The Teletovic point is a bit odd as well, Bosnia is quite far from Russia and quite different culturally, don’t really see the relevance.

  • http://twitter.com/niQknacks niQ

    LOL! Fully laughed out at work.

  • http://www.netstakeover.com/ JetSkiJohnson

    Lol maybe AK knows how to manage his money.

  • http://www.netstakeover.com/ JetSkiJohnson

    “U Mad”?

  • lightsoutskyhighbasketball

    when i first read about the deal it seemed alittle ify to me

  • Dfrance

    Maybe, just maybe he cares about winning more than money and was willing to sacrifice the millions to leave Minny and come to NY and play for a contender.

    Lmao, who am I kidding, this is shady as hell.

  • ayochaser

    I wouldn’t take a pay cut to play with the nets but if he’s sold on them as a contender let him chase that ring.

  • RunNGun

    The Kremlin tells me that Eric Snowden has something to do with this. I just know it!

  • Dfrance

    Here you go with your logic and common sense reasoning. Well, that’s just not welcomed here at Slamonline.

  • The Fury

    This!!!

  • Cortez Mack

    Fat chance the NBA goes to Russia and investigates the finances of any AK associate, or even AK’s personal finances in Russia for that matter.

    Good for him.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    the thing nobody is addressing is that there doesn’t have to be any side deals. or “winks” —- Porkhorov owning the team is “side deal” enough to net Kirilenko TONS of press in Russia. He doesn’t need any shady agreements, the extra money is implied. It’s not as much “shady” as it is, “crappy for everyone else”
    .
    .
    and the guy did ditch the NBA for Russia 2 years ago. Got paid considerably less money.

  • bike

    Vladimir is very pleased with this development. Now he knows he has a shot at replacing Stern when he retires.

  • Solito

    …but tax free… so that’s like earning twice that in the NBA. Plus whatever else he got that was moved outside the club structure.

  • RayJr

    It’s 101,160,737.89 rubles Kirilenko will be making next year so I guess it doesn’t look that bad to him.

  • The Philosopher

    “Y’all rappers in trouble. You shoulda’ neva let me in”.
    (Young Buck)

  • Sancheezie

    its a constant struggle with these guys.

  • LLC#12

    Russia isn’t tax free

  • http://www.rich-imaging.com/ Dutch Rich

    No idea how this will all mesh with Kid at the helm, but daaaaammmmnnn we’re looking good on paper. I’m going out on a limb claiming the tallest line-up, 1 thru 10.Tyshawn as a back up PG worries me though. I’d say we need one more guard. I’m campaigning for Nate. He loves it here. Make it happen Billy!!!

  • danpowers

    thats not what fox news brain washed folks want to read lol

  • Redd

    Anyone would be if you’re making illegal moves.

  • juney

    If. If you’re making illegal moves. They don’t know it to be a fact so they shouldn’t be mad. Go stand in line with the rest of the angry haters while your Bulls watch the Nets and Heat battle to see who makes the finals. Derrick Rose and you should get used to seeing Lebron, Durant, or Deron win rings. The sooner the better.

  • GGG

    Whilst it doesn’t quite ‘smell’ right, lets face it, these guys get paid ALOT of money to play ball for living, AK’s family and the next 3 generations wont need to work if they choose not to. So maybe he aint that keen for the green?

  • Billybinet@yahoo.com

    Let the nets have the highest salary cap and luxury tax in nba history I still know they won’t win the east! I hate the Heat but gotta respect Lebrons greatness and don’t forget the bulls and pacers. Don’t get me wrong i love JKidd but I don’t believe in joe Johnson or in dw to win a finals as the point and they both make 20 mil a year? WTF! I hope everyone know Lebron,s salary was under 17 mil this season NBA free agency SMMFH! And I’m Kobe’s biggest supporter but if he doesn’t take a pay cut after next year then we know who he is. He’s either all about chips and legacy or selfish and wants more like Wilt. KBLA4eva

  • USEPARAGRAPHS

    Dear SLAM,

    You guys NEED to start using paragraphs. You’re in the journalism business, act like it. Please, this is getting out of hand.

  • http://www.rich-imaging.com/ Dutch Rich

    And sometimes you take on a lesser contract based on a network you can tap into. Also it’s about time the East dominates the league again without a Shaquille tipping the balance. And I don’t see Indiana matching up that well against BK. and Rose better recoup his MVP form and especially a midrange game (which I know he will), cause we are gonna be stingy in the front court. AK can be a great tutor to Teletovic and we still have Reggie Evans. There’s gonna be a gellin period. And they will definitely end 3 or higher. The East will have a 4 headed monster. In a series though, barring injury, I’d put my money on Brooklyn. And there are 2 guys now, in particular that have a score to settle with Miami (Ray). Gonna be mega exciting.

  • Ugh

    Provorov even looks like Ivan Drago, dude. All Russians were like that. And Karl Marx,obviously.

  • Ugh

    Your Euroleage contract is tax free. If you sign a 3mil contract you get 3mil net, not gross. The team foots your tax bill.

  • Ugh

    And obviously that means they’re evil. Wow, that Cold War stuff really lingered, didn’t it? Then again, I shouldn’t be surprised – Americans still see the British as cold, calculating intellectuals after 200 years.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    I also love the “imperialistic vision” part… As if the US isn’t the world’s biggest imperialist superpower. Yankees crack me up with their jackassery.

  • LLC#12

    Interesting, thanks, I was unaware of that.

  • spit hot fiyah

    for americans, yes. not sure that is the case for local players. and he would be local playing for cska

  • LLC#12

    Yeah there’s probably a nuclear weapons building facility under the Barclays Center and the NBA team is just an elaborate cover up.

  • LP @ThisisEther

    Str8 outta cashville classic

  • Ugh

    I hope everyone know Bill Russell signed the largest contract in sports history when he was winning 8 championships in a row! SMMFH!

  • robb

    I’ll care about it when they become relevant

  • Conor

    The League should kiss Prokhorov’s ass.

    If its attorneys even attempt to probe the accounts involved to potentially catalyze an investigation after doing nothing about Miami’s collusion &, more importantly, disallowing Paul’s trade to the Lakers, the NBA will have lost a fan.

  • Redd

    Deron? Haha, enjoy that thought but you’ll be very disappointed to find even if my Bulls fall, Nets can’t beat Pacers.

  • Dula

    Who was offering AK47 more money?

  • http://www.netstakeover.com/ JetSkiJohnson

    why can’t AK just wanna win?

  • OfftheWall87

    Great question.

  • Damjan Vlastelica

    you are aware that they signed 6’7″ Shaun Liivingston to be the back up PG right?

  • Elizabeth M. Lane

    just as Peggy responded I’m taken by surprise that any one can get paid $6539 in 1 month on the computer. did you look at this webpage w­w­w.K­E­P­2.c­o­m

  • http://www.rich-imaging.com/ Dutch Rich

    Thanks, I had forgotten about him. So we’re pretty much set then. 2nd unit
    Shaun Livingston
    Jason Terry
    Andrei Kirilenko
    Reggie Evans/DJ White
    Andray Blatche

  • fruizm

    F Peggy!!!

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    GIT OUT YOU LOGICAL COMMON SENSE-USING FORNERS, YOU’LL NEVER TAKE MUH FREEDOMZ.

  • King David

    BROOKLYN !!!

  • Shooting Guard

    even if there’s side deals, no one will ever be able to trace it so let that stuff go

  • Jared

    I´m sorry to say but there just isn´t such a thing as a “Euroleague contract”.

  • laughing@redd

    Correction, the Nets couldn’t beat the Pacers last season. This is a different team, unlike your Bulls who couldn’t beat non-championship winning Heat with Rose at his best.

  • MikeC.

    So this is the shady side deal to get AK the rest of his lost salary. He plays ball, then goes home and works on a computer. Sneaky.

  • Redd

    And no guys showing up around him..lol.

  • Doguie Doer

    Was there a salary cap?

  • dougie doer

    Or luxury tax, etc.

  • Mike From Spain

    (Allegedly) the Spurs wanted to close a sign and trade deal with MN (probably for the MLE), and the Wolves also offered the MLE.

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