Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Sources: Nets target Andrei Kirilenko
By Marc Stein
BARCELONA -- The Brooklyn Nets are making a hard to push to bring Andrei Kirilenko back to the NBA despite their limited salary-cap flexibility, according to sources close to the situation.
After spending well over $300 million in guaranteed contracts this offseason, Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov is trying to convince his countryman to join the Nets now that Kirilenko has announced in Russia that he wants to return to the NBA after a successful season with CSKA Moscow.
Sources close to the process told ESPN.com that Team USA guard Deron Williams, though abroad on national team duty, is part of the recruiting effort on Kirilenko, his former Utah Jazz teammate.
The 31-year-old spent 10 seasons with the Jazz before joining CSKA Moscow in his native Russia.
Not immediately clear, though, is the number of teams that are part of the race or whether Kirilenko is indeed willing to play for a minimum salary a la Antawn Jamison, who recently made that sacrifice to join the Los Angeles Lakers.
Sport Express in Russia on Tuesday quoted Kirilenko saying: "I want to decide my new team before the Olympics. There are several options in the NBA, but the final choice has not been made yet."
Kirilenko also told Ria Novosti, another media outlet: "I'll continue my career in the NBA. Which club in particular, we'll know in a day or two."
One source told ESPN.com the Golden State Warriors are among the bidders for Kirilenko.
Information from ESPNNewYork.com contributor Mike Mazzeo was used in this report.