Kirilenko opted out of the final year of his contract worth $10.2 million with the Minnesota Timberwolves this offseason in hopes of landing a multiyear deal elsewhere. But with his market dwindling, the Russian native wound up signing a two-year contract with the Nets for the taxpayer mini midlevel exception -- starting at $3.18 million. The deal includes a player option for the second year.
Given the $7 million disparity in annual salary, many rival executives reportedly wondered whether Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov brokered some sort of side deal with Kirilenko to make up the difference. Prokhorov owned CSKA Moscow when Kirilenko played there, and the two became close.
"As I said, those type of rumors, I can't control," Kirilenko said on a conference call with reporters Thursday. "I guess it comes from the history of Russia and the KGB. I don't know what that is, what it makes people think. It makes it a little funny, but if it looks funny in those situations, what can I do?"
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