As if the Brooklyn Nets weren't dangerous enough already with a potent starting lineup of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Brook Lopez, they're now adding Andrei Kirilenko to the mix.
The Russian forward opted out of eight figures to leave the Minnesota Timberwolves behind, but a dwindling market left him with a lessened ability to earn a comparable paycheck in the immediate future. Now, according to the New York Daily News' Stefan Bondy, Kirlenko is going to Brooklyn:
Kirilenko has signed a two-year deal for MLE. Second year is player option, according to source.— Stefan Bondy (@NYDNInterNets) July 11, 2013
CBS's Ken Berger has also confirmed this deal:
League sources confirm the Nets have reached agreement with Andrei Kirilenko on a two-year deal.— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) July 11, 2013
AK-47 has to bite the bullet here and accept both less money and a lesser role in the Nets rotation, but it's still worth doing for him because he'll be making a huge difference for a true title contender. Even well into his 30s, Kirilenko is a luxury item, capable of pushing a team to the next level with his defensive prowess and versatility on the more glamorous end of the court.
There's a lot to like for the Nets here.
While the starting lineup looks absolutely loaded, there have been two primary concerns about Brooklyn's potential to hold up the Larry O'Brien Trophy at the conclusion of the 2013-14 campaign.
The first was the combination of old age and a startling lack of depth. That one can be thrown out the window now that the mini mid-level exception has been spent on Kirilenko.
Although the forward may not bring down the team's average age much, he provides depth at the position that needed it most: small forward. With him on board, concerns about Pierce can let up a bit, as there's no need to keep The Truth out on the court for too long.
Can the Brooklyn Nets win a title in 2013-14?
He can also spell Garnett at power forward and keep those old wheels from spinning out of control.
Brooklyn now boasts a quality backup—and I feel guilty calling AK-47 a backup because he'll be gunning for Sixth Man of the Year—at each and every position: Shaun Livingston at point guard, Jason Terry at shooting guard, Kirilenko at small forward, Reggie Evans at power forward and Andray Blatche at center.
The question of depth has now been answered, so we're just waiting on head coach Jason Kidd to prove that he can lead this team to the promised land while holding a clipboard.
That said, with AK-47 on board, the Nets are definitely shooting for a championship.