Brooklyn Nets' deal with Andrei Kirilenko raises suspicions from NBA rivals

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Old 07-12-2013, 04:11 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Holy shit..thats alot of tax

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Brooklyn Nets' deal with Andrei Kirilenko raises suspicions from NBA rivals

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.

Andrei Kirilenko opted out of a contract that would have paid him $10 million with the Timberwolves this season. …Prokhorov had come to conquer the NBA, constructing a basketball arena in the borough of Brooklyn and empowering general manager Billy King to transform a barren roster into a championship contender. The Nets were destined to gather talent in this kind of boldly belligerent way, big names and bigger contracts stacked to the stars. From $101 million in salary to $82 million in luxury tax, Brooklyn has introduced itself as one of the biggest targets in the history of the NBA.

Only this time, the rest of the NBA believes the Nets have gone too far, delivering the league into an unfiltered rage. 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 told Yahoo! Sports.

Mikhail Prokhorov has shown little concern for the NBA's hefty luxury-tax penalties. (USA Today Sports)"Let's see if the league has any credibility," one NBA owner told Yahoo! Sports. "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.

Part of all this is the mystery surrounding Prokhorov, the distrust that comes with how he amassed his fortune, and his bold predictions of an NBA title within five years of purchasing the franchise.

When the Boston Celtics made the Kevin Garnett deal to make themselves championship contenders, everyone accused Minnesota Timberwolves general manager Kevin McHale of preferential treatment of the Celtics and their general manager, Danny Ainge, in the deal. When Pat Riley brought LeBron James and Chris Bosh together for discounts on max contracts, there were cries of collusion.

Nets officials will privately tell you they understand these suspicions were inevitable – even if they believe the suspicions are misguided and misinformed. Nevertheless, Kirilenko has long been a target of Prokhorov, the highest-profile Russian star in the NBA and forever an object of the owner's desire. The Nets were discussing deals to back up Pierce with the pedestrian Alan Anderson until discussions with Kirilenko became more serious in the past several days.

Kirilenko wanted a three-year deal with a minimum of $8 million per season, front-office executives said. Several teams, including the San Antonio Spurs, pursued Kirilenko with sign-and-trade discussions with Minnesota only nothing could get done. Kirilenko has history with Deron Williams, the Nets star. They played together for five years in Utah. Most of all, Kirilenko has history with Prokhorov. The billionaire owned CSKA Moscow, and Kirilenko played for him there, too.

The Nets pursued Kyle Korver with its $3.1 million exception to start free agency, but he re-signed with Atlanta. Eventually, Kirilenko and the Nets were left shopping, and a deal was consummated on Thursday.

Brooklyn gets a strong, athletic defender to pursue James and Dwyane Wade in the playoffs, one more willing passer and scorer. For the Nets, too, they get the scorn of the sport now. Everyone can suggest it was easy to construct this roster with no financial limitations, but, rest assured, everyone couldn't have done what Prokhorov and King have done with these Nets – whatever everyone thinks. Brooklyn has arrived with suspicions and charges and jealousies, arrived in unmistakable and unprecedented noise. Here are the Nets now: From Russia, with loathe.

Y! SPORTS
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Old 07-12-2013, 04:34 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Old 07-12-2013, 05:26 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Old 07-12-2013, 07:31 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I'm not so sure I am "proud" of what the Nets are doing. Its actually pretty terrible. I was alluding to this much yesterday when i mentioned "having a trillionaire owner".

This guy is signing guys for nothing and paying them on the side. Thats the opposite of "sporting", in a business of "sport".

i don't support it, not even a little bit. I saw this coming the moment that man bought the team, he was a crook in Russia, and he's one in the NBA.
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Old 07-12-2013, 08:07 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Yeah the Kirilenko thing is pretty brazen. His wife will probably suddenly get an awesome new car, new house, etc. It doesn't pass the sniff test and yes that's partly because AK47 like the Nets owner is Russian, but also because of the amazing turn-of-face of an NBA free agent going from asking $8+M/year with several years' job security (why else opt out if not for more years if you're expecting a pay cut?), to $3.1M/year.

If the "old" David Stern were investigating this, there could be a Minnesota/Joe Smith esque collusion punishment (they lost something crazy like 3-5 first round picks!), but with Stern on his way out, and the new guy not necessarily wanting to step on toes yet, who knows if anything will come of this. Next we'll hear of Nets' players cheques bouncing and then we'll really have a Euro-style of basketball!
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Old 07-12-2013, 08:08 PM   #6 (permalink)
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& the Lakers, Knicks, Yankees, Red Sox, Mavs, Bulls, Braves, Cavs and on....Arent crooks?
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Old 07-12-2013, 08:15 PM   #7 (permalink)
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& the Lakers, Knicks, Yankees, Red Sox, Mavs, Bulls, Braves, Cavs and on....Arent crooks?
Why would they be?
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Old 07-12-2013, 10:50 PM   #8 (permalink)
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As I mentioned in another thread, Kirilenko already has $100 million in career earnings. Before people go throwing around accusations, a little evidence would be nice. Also, have any owners come forward saying that they offered him more than the Non-Tax MLE? Because that's all most teams had to give him after the other high end free agents got scooped up. It didn't make much sense for Atlanta to blow space on him, when they still need a PG and were in the race for Bynum.

So, really, people should stop comparing his Nets salary to the $10 mill he gave up to leave Minnesota. He made the decision to opt out of the Minny contract before he knew for sure how teams would allocate their cap space this off-season. When he opted out, perhaps he thought a decent team would pick him up on a longer deal. That was part of his reasoning for initially opting out. He also reportedly didn't like playing in Minny. After opting out, when nothing good materialized financially, Kirilenko decided to join Brooklyn. His agent was involved with trying to work out a sign-and-trade between the T-Wolves and the Spurs but they couldn't agree on the players for Minny to take back. It seems like a lot of work to go through putting up a front to cover some alleged back-room dealings with Prokhorov. Kirilenko was probably interested in playing for the Spurs, but he can't force the T-Wolves to make the trade. Once the opt out happened, the reality of the situation could very well be that all Kirilenko did was pass up 5.1 million for 3.1 million, which really isn't a big deal in the larger context of his career earnings.

As was mentioned on PTI today, Ray Allen probably turned down more money to play for the Heat last year, yet nobody talked about back room deals on that one. "Hey, look, they're both Russian! Something funny must be going on!"


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Old 07-12-2013, 11:12 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Kirilenko has probably made another 100 mil via his Russian league contracts and endorsements. He can afford to play whereever he wants to.

However, people are going to question Prokhorov, and that's fine. Prokhorov is dirty. Bribes, fake political career. If Tim Donaghy owned an NBA franchise, he'd receive more scrutiny and suspicious looks than other owners.
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Old 07-12-2013, 11:35 PM   #10 (permalink)
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As I mentioned in another thread, Kirilenko already has $100 million in career earnings. Before people go throwing around accusations, a little evidence would be nice. Also, have any owners come forward saying that they offered him more than the Non-Tax MLE? Because that's all most teams had to give him after the other high end free agents got scooped up. It didn't make much sense for Atlanta to blow space on him, when they still need a PG and were in the race for Bynum.

So, really, people should stop comparing his Nets salary to the $10 mill he gave up to leave Minnesota. He made the decision to opt out of the Minny contract before he knew for sure how teams would allocate their cap space this off-season. When he opted out, perhaps he thought a decent team would pick him up on a longer deal. That was part of his reasoning for initially opting out. He also reportedly didn't like playing in Minny. After opting out, when nothing good materialized financially, Kirilenko decided to join Brooklyn. His agent was involved with trying to work out a sign-and-trade between the T-Wolves and the Spurs but they couldn't agree on the players for Minny to take back. It seems like a lot of work to go through putting up a front to cover some alleged back-room dealings with Prokhorov. Kirilenko was probably interested in playing for the Spurs, but he can't force the T-Wolves to make the trade. Once the opt out happened, the reality of the situation could very well be that all Kirilenko did was pass up 5.1 million for 3.1 million, which really isn't a big deal in the larger context of his career earnings.

As was mentioned on PTI today, Ray Allen probably turned down more money to play for the Heat last year, yet nobody talked about back room deals on that one. "Hey, look, they're both Russian! Something funny must be going on!"

Are you saying...so i am completely understanding, that an owner, who earned his money as one of the biggest mining gangsters on the planet, is above a few minor passages of funds to make his pet project successful?

I agree with you to an extent, however the cliche "where there is smoke there is fire" wasn't invented for no reason at all...it was made for situations like these. You're absolutely correct, until there is evidence, we should all take a step back, and relax as it isn't really legal to assume guilt until its proven in a court of law.....except this isn't the courts, and we can kinda assume what we want, and my intuition says something smells foul.

I think for our purposes here... all that really matters, is that damn, that team is looking pretty damn scary.

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Old 07-12-2013, 11:36 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Kirilenko has probably made another 100 mil via his Russian league contracts and endorsements. He can afford to play whereever he wants to.

However, people are going to question Prokhorov, and that's fine. Prokhorov is dirty. Bribes, fake political career. If Tim Donaghy owned an NBA franchise, he'd receive more scrutiny and suspicious looks than other owners.
Tim Donaghy is the most honest man in sports. Just Like Canseco.

People can't handle the truth.
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Old 07-12-2013, 11:41 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Old 07-12-2013, 11:46 PM   #13 (permalink)
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No salary cap. problem solved.
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Old 07-12-2013, 11:49 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I agree with you to an extent, however the cliche "where there is smoke there is fire" wasn't invented for no reason at all...it was made for situations like these. You're absolutely correct, until there is evidence, we should all take a step back, and relax as it isn't really legal to assume guilt until its proven in a court of law.....except this isn't the courts, and we can kinda assume what we want, and my intuition says something smells foul.
Saying your "intution tells you something is foul" is different than saying affirmatively that this guy "is paying people on the side."

And to answer your earlier question, I don't think anybody is above circumventing the league's rules to win. Even Minnesota tried it a few years ago. Any team coulld do it. But the risks involved seem sort of silly, given that Brooklyn already has a very strong roster.

Plus, I look at the whole situation before even allowing my "intuition" to dictate my conclusions. I consider the fact that comparing his current salary to the 10 mill figure is poorly thought out, considering the climate was different when he made the decision. I consider the fact that he was close to going to the Spurs but a sign-and-trade got blocked. After that, and after most of the available cap space (from teams where he fit) got eaten up, we're really talking about offers of 5.1 million for the Non-Tax MLE. 3.1 ain't that far off.

If I listened to my intuition, I'd think you were SJ on a new account, just being more polite. That Canseco reference in discussions about corruption is sooooooooooooooooo SJ.

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Old 07-12-2013, 11:51 PM   #15 (permalink)
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People can't handle the truth.
I think you mean "people can't handle my intuition".

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Old 07-12-2013, 11:51 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Why would they be?
They are all crooks
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Old 07-12-2013, 11:59 PM   #17 (permalink)
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They are all crooks
i concur
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Old 07-13-2013, 12:10 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Anyone calculate how much luxury tax the Nets have to pay for next season?


Total Salary: $101,701,720

$29,953,720 over the tax threshold

Tax Threshold: $71.748mil

$7,500,000
$8,750,000
$12,500,000
$16,250,000
$18,650,000
$21,250,000
________________
$85,000,000 in Luxury tax?

$85,000,000 + $101,701,720 = 186 Million Total roster cost

Last edited by Nites; 07-13-2013 at 12:31 AM.
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Old 07-13-2013, 12:14 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Anyone calculate how much luxury tax the Nets have to pay for next season?
80-90mil I believe.

Salary is around 101mil, total (salary + taxes) is around 186mil from what I've heard. Just what I've heard though, not 100%.
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Old 07-13-2013, 01:12 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Saying your "intution tells you something is foul" is different than saying affirmatively that this guy "is paying people on the side."

And to answer your earlier question, I don't think anybody is above circumventing the league's rules to win. Even Minnesota tried it a few years ago. Any team coulld do it. But the risks involved seem sort of silly, given that Brooklyn already has a very strong roster.

Plus, I look at the whole situation before even allowing my "intuition" to dictate my conclusions. I consider the fact that comparing his current salary to the 10 mill figure is poorly thought out, considering the climate was different when he made the decision. I consider the fact that he was close to going to the Spurs but a sign-and-trade got blocked. After that, and after most of the available cap space (from teams where he fit) got eaten up, we're really talking about offers of 5.1 million for the Non-Tax MLE. 3.1 ain't that far off.

If I listened to my intuition, I'd think you were SJ on a new account, just being more polite. That Canseco reference in discussions about corruption is sooooooooooooooooo SJ.

Ok.

I will assume that's a compliment?

I just don't think, for a moment ,and this is just me coming from a rational standpoint, that the Nets new owner is operating under the rules he's committed to following.

I might be wrong...but i dunno Bill haverchuck, too many things in my mind tell me I'm likely not. Do you not believe in intuition?

As for Canseco....I dunno, it just seems like he took a lot of abuse for being truthful when it wasn't what the public wanted to hear. Thats all. I apologize if i somehow came off...poorly?
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