Now that he's officially taken part in a conference call to clue in writers and fans about his intentions and expectations, Andrei Kirilenko has truly become a member of the Brooklyn Nets. And from the sound of things, he's excited to be a part of this up-and-coming contender.
As SYNNets.com's Josh Newman tweeted, Kirilenko feels like his new team can truly compete for a title. The Wall Street Journal's Alex Raskin does temper the expectations a bit, though.
AK-47: "I hope we can do it together. I've played in the NBA 12 years and I think this is a good shot to win a title."— Josh Newman (@Joshua_Newman) August 1, 2013
Kirilenko: "I’m not saying we’re going to win. It’s going to take a lot of work." #Nets— Alex Raskin (@alexraskinNYC) August 1, 2013
In fact, as relayed by the New York Daily News' Stefan Bondy, it's the first time in the Russian forward's career that he feels as though he has a "legit shot" at winning a title.
Kirilenko says this is the first time he's starting the season with a feeling of a "legit chance" to win the title.— Stefan Bondy (@NYDNInterNets) August 1, 2013
That doesn't say a lot for squads like the 2006-07 Utah Jazz that made the Western Conference Finals before bowing out to the San Antonio Spurs. Maybe he just has a selective memory? Or was that team just not as good as we think?
It's the depth of the Nets that is making AK-47 so confident in their chances. Chris Hooker of ESPN's TrueHoop network made that quite clear with this stream of tweets.
AK: "We'll have a pretty veteran team. It's a privilege in the NBA, not a lot team have this kind of depth." AK says he spoke with Kidd.— Chris Hooker (@chrishooker9) August 1, 2013
AK: "Nets are very completed. Every position is an All-Star."— Chris Hooker (@chrishooker9) August 1, 2013
AK is not worried with HOW they will compete with elite East teams, but knows they will find a way.— Chris Hooker (@chrishooker9) August 1, 2013
Kirilenko also dished out a bit on his decision to opt out of a massive, eight-figure contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Originally, the choice was made so that he could re-sign with the team.
Andrei Kirilenko admits he opted out "not because I wanted to sign with the Nets" but to re-sign long-term deal with TWolves.— Stefan Bondy (@NYDNInterNets) August 1, 2013
But once the team went in a different direction, it wasn't hard for him to reverse course and look to the Nets as an option.
AK: "I don't have any regrets (about opting out in Minnesota)."— Chris Hooker (@chrishooker9) August 1, 2013
AK-47 said no regrets about opting out of the $10.2 player option in Minny. Simply tried to find the best option once Minny moved on.— Josh Newman (@Joshua_Newman) August 1, 2013
The Russian connection with owner Mikhail Prokhorov, his fellow countrymen in the front office and the parts of Brooklyn like Brighton Beach that have high Russian-speaking populations also helped make his decision easier.
AK: "When (Prokhorov) got the team, I was very happy that a Russian owner got a team."— Chris Hooker (@chrishooker9) August 1, 2013
Kirilenko says he feels like he is playing at 'home' in Brooklyn given Russian owner, Russians in front office and areas like Brighton Beach— Josh Newman (@Joshua_Newman) August 1, 2013
Let's hold off on the conspiracy theories about under-the-table deals, though. We don't want to upset AK-47, especially while he's still in a joking mood.
Kirilenko on the conspiracy theories: "Those type of rumors, I cannot control." He also made a KGB joke, which is outstanding.— Josh Newman (@Joshua_Newman) August 1, 2013
Here's hoping the KGB doesn't actually get involved with the NBA next season.
Kirilenko spent a little time discussing one of his former teammates: Deron Williams. The two enjoyed great success together in Salt Lake City, and the newly acquired forward is expecting to click once more in a new location.
AK: "(Playing with D-Will again) is a little bonus. It's great. I'm expecting a great time. We had a great time back in Utah."— Chris Hooker (@chrishooker9) August 1, 2013
AK: "(D-Will) knows my best and weak spots, and vice versa."— Chris Hooker (@chrishooker9) August 1, 2013
He also doesn't mind coming off the bench.
AK: "I have no problems with coming off the bench. I have no issue." Says he discussed that style with Jerry Sloan.— Chris Hooker (@chrishooker9) August 1, 2013
That's definitely a positive, as Paul Pierce's presence on the Nets roster seems to prohibit Kirilenko from holding down a starting spot.
It's time to start getting excited, Brooklyn fans. Your newest big acquisition is fully on board and ready to compete for a title.
Good stuff from Andrei. Was a little tough to understand on the phone, you know, with his badass Russian accent. Seems pumped to be here.— Chris Hooker (@chrishooker9) August 1, 2013
Now you just need to start practicing your Russian accents.