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Tuesday, September 17th, 2013 at 8:30 am  |  66 responses

NBA Reportedly Investigated Nets’ Signing Of Andrei Kirilenko


by Leo Sepkowitz | @LeoSepkowitz

Back in the beginning of the offseason, Andrei Kirilenko left one year and $10 million on the table from Minnesota to test the free agent waters. So it raised some eyebrows when he accepted a deal with the Nets—owned by Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov—worth slightly north of $3 million annually.

Apparently, owners across the League weren’t too pleased and at least one complained to the commissioner’s office about the signing. Perhaps the displeasure stemmed from the misconception that Kirilenko declined the $10 million with the intention of taking less than a third as much from the Nets, when really he only signed with Brooklyn after receiving relatively little interest on the free agent market.

Per the New York Post:

From Russia with … nothing shady. That was the finding of a ‘thorough’ NBA investigation into the Nets’ summer signing of free agent forward Andrei Kirilenko, multiple league sources told The Post. The league, after getting complaints from at least one other team that suggested improper agreements, examined the signing and found nothing against the rules. Kirilenko, who made roughly $10 million in Minnesota last season, opted out of the final year of his Timberwolves’ deal and took the Nets’ $3.1 mini-midlevel exception. In doing so, he triggered a wave of anger and suspicion. Rivals owners and executives intimated under-the-table deals existed between Kirilenko and Russian countryman Mikhail Prokhorov, the Nets’ billionaire owner. At least one owner – possibly more – complained to the league. ‘When there is a formal complaint, the league will look into it,’ said one league official who spoke in generalities and refused comment on the Kirilenko issue. The league launched its investigation, questioning participants. Nets officials were summoned — at one point on a weekend, usually a time off in the summer for league execs. ‘It was a very, very thorough investigation,’ one source maintained. ‘They checked everything.’”

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  • spit hot fiyah

    and they were cleared. this looked shady from day one though. but if anyone knows the mastery of washing money it should be prokhorov

  • danpowers

    i dont think that there is anything that could be found or cash. just watch kirilenkos career after the nba. if there was an agreement then it mustve been a handshake agreement for maybe a lucrative job for kirilenko in russia or in the nets organization.

  • pposse

    the nba will never be able to prove this. these are one of those instances where you just have to pay attention to Kirlenko’s demeanor for the rest of his career which no one will do. If he is out there hustling every play nonstop, no complaining just hard work then then maybe just maybe he joined the nets “for the love of the game” and to get a ring.

    This might be America where your innocent till proven guilty but I don’t see how peers or anyone else cannot view Kirlenko as guilty.

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

    The Lebron Stopper will prosper.

  • Cortez Mack

    Does anyone really believe that the NBA has enough reach to (accurately) investigate the financial dealings of AK, or his extended family and friends, in Russia? Or the NBA is going to do something about it if, 2 years after his retirement, AK has a piece of property purchased from him for 15 million dollars?

  • Patrick

    Random and off topic, but I’m trying to find a video slam posted awhile back. I think it was promoting sunglasses or something and it had clips of Iverson stepping over Lou and Kobe to Shaq alley oop in the playoffs, all with the video pausing to put sunglasses over their eyes…can anyone direct me??

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    you are assuming something shady had to have happened for Kirelinko to take this deal…..when, really, all he has to do is be a big piece of a team that competes and is owned by a Russian. The money in Russia will follow suit. No under the table deals necessary.

  • pposse

    I just can’t wrap my head around someone leaving 7 million on the table, especially when at best you are a B level NBA talent.

    Idk if its considered under the table but IF Prokarhov approached Kirlenko like “come to our team for 3 million and i’ll hook you up with my fiancial advisor or real estate developers in Russia who in turn will find you lucrative investment opportunities” then some sort of rule bending has occured imo.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    well first you have to take into consideration that AK is not an American. His value of personal wealth is probably different then ours. And he’s made over $100 million in his career, $7 mill might not really be a big deal to him. Especially with the attention he will be getting in Russia while playing for Porkhorov

  • patrick

    get rid of the salary cap

  • bike

    Only time will tell. If AK, after retirement, shows up shirtless in pics with Vladimir Putin on Russian bear hunts, it’s a pretty safe bet something unseemly occurred.

  • bike

    Only time will tell. If AK, after retirement, shows up shirtless in pics with Vladimir Putin on Russian bear hunts, it’s a pretty safe bet something unseemly occurred.

  • AndyK415

    Should have stayed with the Wolves.

  • spit hot fiyah

    my point exactly, nothing can be found

  • spit hot fiyah

    my point exactly, nothing can be found

  • CzechMate

    I heard that guy vlad loves Putin pie
    Děkuji

  • CzechMate

    I heard that guy vlad loves Putin pie
    Děkuji

  • pposse

    money is the universal language.

    I know i’m just speculating but, but like you said the attention he will be getting from Russia while playing with BK will be great for him no doubt; just really hard to believe that was enough incentive for him to go.. Some plan has to already be in place right?!

  • pposse

    money is the universal language.

    I know i’m just speculating but, but like you said the attention he will be getting from Russia while playing with BK will be great for him no doubt; just really hard to believe that was enough incentive for him to go.. Some plan has to already be in place right?!

  • LakeShow

    It was definitely Cuban that complained.

  • LakeShow

    It was definitely Cuban that complained.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i mean, is playing for the richest guy from your country not an incentive? I mean, just the association with Porkhorov alone is a huge boon for his future business endeavors in Russia. Sh*t, for all we know, AK is just trying to get in good so that he knows he has a future career in basketball, even if it isn’t in the NBA. Actually I’m pretty sure Pork owns or partially owned the team AK played on in Russia during the lock-out. I just don’t see a reason to do anything shady, the implied benefits of playing for Brooklyn are enough incentive, or they would be for me.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i mean, is playing for the richest guy from your country not an incentive? I mean, just the association with Porkhorov alone is a huge boon for his future business endeavors in Russia. Sh*t, for all we know, AK is just trying to get in good so that he knows he has a future career in basketball, even if it isn’t in the NBA. Actually I’m pretty sure Pork owns or partially owned the team AK played on in Russia during the lock-out. I just don’t see a reason to do anything shady, the implied benefits of playing for Brooklyn are enough incentive, or they would be for me.

  • LakeShow

    Watch out NBA, Pau is a quiet guy, but he has been putting in work this off season and is poised to return as the Lakers primary post option. Look for Pau to get right back to his old ways. Look for him to be an All Star and a 20-10 guy this coming season.

    Pau is a top 5 Lakers big man and I think he is going to reopen eyes this next season.

    Pau’s skills are eternal. He doesn’t need athleticism to be an elite post player for a few more years.

    Excited to have Pau back doing work for the Lakers!

    This season is taking longer than usual to start for me for some reason….

  • Max

    That would be a pretty dumb move.

  • robb

    lol what?

  • robb

    I love Pau. Great player, great guy and a true professional. I think he’s gonna be awesome this year.

  • pposse

    that bar looks heavy

  • nate57

    Beyond wiretapping, I have absolutely no clue what substantial investigation could be undertaken on this front.

    “Did anyone pay you under the table or promise to do so at a later date, Andrei?”

    “Nyet.”

    “But for real, though?”

    “Da.”

    “But seriously, for real-real and not for play-play?”

    “Mm-hmm.”

    “This dude won’t crack. Call off the hounds. Tell Prok it’s all good. We should be going anyway. We have to get to Kobe’s house by four to make him pinky-swear those German doctors were just injecting fish oil and Flintstones vitamins into his leg.”

  • K_HOLIDAY

    I get the other owner’s complaints, but talent doesnt guarantee anything… Side deals or not, the Nets still have to play out their schedule.

  • LakeShow

    It may not guarantee anything, but AK is a great bench player to add to an already stacked team.

    It’s worth the NBA looking into. If they don’t… this could become a Pandora’s box.

  • RKJ92

    Pau’s one of my favorite players I hope he beasts for you guys :)

  • LakeShow

    Yeah, great guy and great player, pretty easy fella to root for.

    I hope the same success to you with Valanciunas.

    May the NBA Gods grant you a 15-10-2 guy for ya up north.

  • RKJ92

    Valanciunas reminds me sooooooo much of an unpolished Pau, it makes me drool to think of what he could be (prime Pau) if he continues his progression in the next few years :)

  • Smits#45

    I don’t think this is that much different than Dwight Howard being offered a television show. Prokhorov has an unfair advantage to signing Kirilenko just like Los Angeles has an unfair advantage to signing basically any other player for just being Los Angeles. I don’t think you can create a 100% clean league.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    basically yeah. it’s an inherent advantage. and there is nothing “dirty” about it.
    .
    regarding the TV show thing, Dwight got that offer in Houston too. That’s really about whether or not a TV company wants to offer you a show, no matter what city you are in. It is not through the team, that would be illegal.

  • Smits#45

    Okay, I didn’t know they offered him a show in Houston too. I was trying to say that you can naturally assume that when you play for some cities or owners the chance increases that you’ll be offered lucrative endorsement deals.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    right, I understood. I just wanted to clear it up that it wasn’t “The Lakers” who offered him a TV show. Teams can only negotiate what is covered by the CBA. Other income can not come from the team to a player. As that obviously would override the salary cap, which is what provides, LOL, “competitive balance”

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    stop it.

  • RKJ92

    nbk watch him this season, and I said unpolished! I watched him every game he played. Statistically he isn’t showing any signs of that yet; but if you had watched him play as much as I have he has SO much potential. Please if you can watch a few of his games this year and maybe you will see what i’m seeing as well. *EDIT* they don’t have the same passing ability at all though respectively Pau is special in that category.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i watch him plenty. and i know he has the potential to be really good. But Pau is an All-Timer. Saying he has that kind of potential is really really lofty.

  • RKJ92

    Man.. I know it’s lofty I just get this really good feeling about him, his motor is just incredible. He has to work on his defense, passing, foul trouble, and I think his rebounding should be better after filling into a 250-55lb frame this summer. He was already at 9rpg per 36. Defense, Passing, and Fouling are the 3 things he needs to fix to be great.
    Excessive fouling is usually just a rookie issue fixes with time in the league and learning how to play properly. Defense is plausible as he has a 7’4 wingspan, agile, and now strong with the added weight, lastly passing is the thing I doubt he will become good at.. usually that’s innate either you have it, or you don’t but I guess only time can tell with him. Centers are almost always projects. Feel free to add any input.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    there is more to it than production. he is going to have to learn how to take over NBA games. And i just don’t even see the door opening for him to learn how to do that in Toronto. Big men don’t just magically understand how to dominate, their team has to put them in that position. With Rudy Gay / Demar Derozan / Kyle Lowry in Toronto …… I don’t ever see Valunciunas getting that opportunity.

  • RKJ92

    I don’t see one of those 3 players you listed in Toronto by the end of the season let’s put it that way ;) kind of like how we agree Luol will be gone. One of our players will be traded for financial purposes as well I can bet you that.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    want to run me through these scenarios tho? Rudy Gay is untradeable for any value unless his eye surgery really did make a big difference.
    Demar Derozan has a monstrosity of a contract. And shedding him without any return would infuriate your fan base. Specifically the part of your fan base that attends games and enjoys watching that guy do the things he does.
    Kyle Lowry is probably your most tradeable asset. I just haven’t figured out where he would fit…

  • danpowers

    “money is the universal language”

    luckily not for everybody

    i would be suprised tho if there wasnt something like a handshake agreement but dont count on kirilenko and prokhorov to be stupid enough to get into a side business already. IF there was actually a side deal, id take a guess that this would go down after kirilenkos career – maybe in shape of a lucrative job in russia or the nets organization, etc.

  • RKJ92

    I think it will be a package blockbuster, I almost want to guarantee Lowry will be leaving but for the sake of my dignity I won’t. DeMar is tradable because he is like Tyreke Evans he really has no natural position.. he’s not consistent enough to be a shooting guard, and unable to guard small forwards, his contract is disgusting but we all thought Bargnani, or say Joe Johnson was untradable too and look how those situations turned out!
    I love what Rudy brings to Toronto he’s the one guy I would want to keep if he can miraculously learn to shoot better, and become a better facilitator as well, I would be tickled but I’m thinking a blockbuster will happen where we gut our team. It won’t be one player for another. The only 2 players staying on our team 100% no matter what will be Valanciunas, and Amir Johnson. The rest are all assets as far as our community is concerned. I guess this is only something time will tell, because the Raptor community is definitely pushing for change and maybe the management will act accordingly.

  • danpowers

    “His value of personal wealth is probably different then ours.”

    wouldnt count on that. he played organized basketball since he was 10 and spent some years of his youth playing in saint petersburg http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Petersburg which implies that he grew up with a higher living standard than the average us-american or west-european.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    please do not tell me that you are under the impression that Derozan is valued like Tyreke Evans? He isn’t. not even close.
    .
    we’ll see about Lowry. He’s expiring, i just think Toronto values him more than anyone else.

  • RKJ92

    Godddd noooooo.. i’m saying he is awkward like Tyreke with no real position. DeRozan probably has the same trade market value as JJ Redick really if you asked me.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    having wealth, and using it as a status symbol are different. from my experience with almost every person i’ve grown to know from another country, the idea that there are degrees of rich was “pointless” (lack of a better word). That’s what I’m implying by saying that. AK is already very rich, i don’t think being marginally more rich would do as much for him as it does with typical NBA players. Especially, as i said before, when it’s a situation that has the potential to eventually benefit him in the long run.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    ok, just making sure you are looking at his skillset realistically lol

  • danpowers

    i see.
    my remark came due to a wrong understanding of your post. i read it like “for those poor russians 3 mil mean much more than to a wealthy american” which i didnt really expect from you. understand my remark as an indirect question to get your statement right lol

  • RKJ92

    I might be from Toronto, but it doesn’t mean I baby my team lol, Valanciunas is the real deal though I get giddy watching him develop :) I will specially be watching Phoenix on league pass this season too Archie Goodwin is my sleeper pick from the draft, and Alex Len is so fun to watch! he is very fundamentally sound! idk how well he will work with Bledsoe though unless he can develop a solid jumper because Len takes up a lot of space in the paint.. good news is he can stretch to about 15 feet though he has a nice touch. Phoenix will be horrendous just fun to watch develop though :)

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Phoenix will be a project. Probably only worth watching throughout the 1st half or so of games. 4th quarters will be like microcosms of the preseason. I wouldn’t spend one of my league pass choices on Phoenix though, if you choose the 5 team plan.

  • RKJ92

    Money is not an issue I do quite well for myself lol. I like to keep tab on most teams :)

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    hahah no doubt. i definitely am not implying anything about people not valuing money. just valuing it differently. and with less “importance” when it’s in excess

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    ahh, good for you man. i’ll be in that boat sooner or later lol

  • RKJ92

    Let me guess your a dad? because I can almost feel it by your last sentence hah.. I know the feeling, if you are one though man :) do well by them first and foremost take care of other matter second always

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    well of course (children come first in every way shape and form). i wouldn’t stress about frivolous spending if i wasn’t. even if it’s other peoples frivolous spending.

  • RKJ92

    Hah knew it, good for you though :) keep that attitude for the rest of your life.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Don’t stress, my dad treated us (still does) that way. It’s all I know / want to know.

  • http://triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    You cant see it from that pic. But steve nash and mamba are hanging off each side of that bar.

  • flight7

    The guy has made over $100, 000 000, perhaps he just wants a ring?

  • BballConditioning

    Putting in work on a smith machine lol…

  • pposse

    thats my point a handshake agreement to help kirlenko make money in the future with Prokarhav at any point in time while there is an employer employee relationship as it pertains to being a basketball player and owner should be and most liikely is considered illegal. i believe handshakes are binding agreements in the USA which may be hard to prove they did, but would constitute an illegal arrangement.

    Name me one person who made/ has 100 million in the bank or less balk at 7 million dollars other than supposedly Andrei Kirelenko. I’ll wait.

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