ORLANDO, Fla. — How do you say "Holy Cow!" in Russian?
That phrase is in order today after the pay cut Andrei Kirilenko is reportedly going to take to play for the Brooklyn Nets.
Either AK-47 badly wanted out of Minnesota or he really wanted to reunite with former Jazz teammate Deron Williams. After turning down his player option of $10.2 million with the Timberwolves for 2013-14, Kirilenko has agreed to sign with the Nets for the mini-midlevel exception of $3.1 million for next year, according to NBA reporter Peter Vecsey.
That's a whole lot of rubles the Russian left on the table in the Twin Cities.
Before adding Kirilenko, the Nets and tycoon owner Mikhail Prokhorov had already racked up about $70 million in luxury tax penalties for their loaded roster. This move pushes Brooklyn's payroll to about $101 million for 2013-14. In comparison, the Jazz are at the salary floor at $52 million.
"It's great for our fans (and) great for the organization that we have an owner who is willing to spend money, but I think spend it wisely," Nets general manager Billy King told USA Today on Wednesday. "We wouldn't have just spent this way if we didn't think it would help us advance our common goal of winning a championship. That's really what we're trying to do."
Money shouldn't be a problem for Kirilenko, who earned $86 million in the final six years of his decade stay in Utah. He made $10 million in Minnesota last season after a year away from the NBA during the 2011-12 lockout.
Kirilenko, who's previously played for Russian billionaire Prokhorov's CSKA team, joins a loaded Nets squad, which also recently added Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry in a trade with Boston. The team also features D-Will, Joe Johnson, Brook Lopez and Gerald Wallace.
According to multiple reports, Kirilenko's deal has a player option for a second season in Brooklyn.
The versatile 6-foot-9 forward has averaged 12.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.9 blocks and 1.4 steals in his 11-year NBA career. Though originally drafted by Utah in 1999, Kirilenko is only 32 years old.
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