NBA Rumors: Andrei Kirilenko Is Brooklyn Nets' Final Championship Puzzle Piece
The Brooklyn Nets' starting lineup has one hole left to fill: power forward. With two open spots remaining on their revamped roster the Nets will look to fill that hole as efficiently as possible.
According to New York Post reporter Tim Bontemps the Nets expect to fill one of those holes with veteran big man Nazr Mohammed. Bontemps then alludes to an interview that Nets General Manager Billy King had with FOX Sports Radio (listen here) concerning the final empty slot.
They expect to fill one with veteran big man Nazr Mohammed, who is here visiting the team this weekend. The other? Well, Nets general manager Billy King would like to acquire Andrei Kirilenko.
In an interview on Fox Sports Radio Saturday, King said that the Nets have been talking with Kirilenko, who is preparing to play with the Russian National Team in the Olympics are starring last season for Russia’s top club team, CSKA Moscow.
Bontemps goes on to speak toward the likelihood of Kirilenko coming to Brooklyn. He notes that AK47 is unlikely to join the Nets for the veteran minimum, but that's all they can afford to offer after giving their mid-level exception to Mirza Teletovic.
There's no doubt that Kirilenko would help Brooklyn. He enjoyed a versatile 10-year NBA career before joining his CSKA Moscow squad. In a decade with the Utah Jazz, Kirilenko averaged more than 12 points per game, three assists, five rebounds and more than one block per contest. He's an above-average player on both ends of the floor, and he proved last year he can still play.
According to Bontemps, Kirilenko averaged 14.1 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.9 blocks in 17 games in the Euroleague last season. He didn't face NBA-caliber competition, but basketball is basketball. He proved that he still brings the same elements to the game that NBA fans were used to seeing from 2001-11.
The Nets may have missed out on Dwight Howard, but their lineup is going to be just fine without him. Kirilenko would be the missing piece to their championship puzzle. He provides necessary versatility, experience and familiarity with Nets' star point guard Deron Williams.
There's nothing not to like about this if you're a Brooklyn fan. Signing a player of Kirilenko's caliber to the veteran minimum is highway robbery. He would be a perfect complement to the current framework that Brooklyn already has in place.
Missing out on Howard doesn't mean the Nets can't bring a championship home. Kirilenko wouldn't fit as the centerpiece of that movement, but he's a picture-perfect supporting player in a very talented lineup.
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