New Jersey Nets Trade Rumors: Mikhail Prokhorov After Andrei Kirilenko?

Justin KeyCorrespondent IJanuary 20, 2011

NEW YORK - MAY 19:  New Jersey Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov addresses the media during a press conference at the Four Seasons Hotel on May 19, 2010 in New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Walking fast and knowingly late to the only Utah Jazz game that I've attended, I managed to get to the tippy-top of the nosebleeds, where the nice lady in the black vest directed me last night in the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

I sat just as soon as I had to stand back up and remove my hat for the national anthem. 

Before the starting lineups, the crowd was informed the starters would be announced in Russian in honor of "Russian Heritage Night."

Apparently, new owner Mikhail Prokhorov was at the game for the promotional evening, and, interestingly enough, featured a game against the best Russian-born player in the NBA, Andrei Kirilenko. 

Even the Russian superstar, Washintonton Capitals Alexander Ovechkin, was in the building.

It was also the evening that Prokhorov told Nets' officials to stop pursuing Carmelo Anthony—letting the entire world know in the process. 

Now that we know what the Nets aren't doing—could they be up to something else?

It seems unlikely that Russian Heritage Night in New Jersey would involve both the ever-absent Prokhorov and Andrei Kirilenko, who only visits Newark once a year.

Still, it's difficult to see it as a coincidence.

As I thought about it a bit more, I reflected on the game and Utah's recent struggles. It's becoming clearer with each passing game that the Jazz need a shooter in their starting lineup.

It is unlikely that head coach Jerry Sloan will be changing it up anytime soon. Change is the antithesis of Sloan. 

Prokhorov on the other hand has guaranteed so much change that he's declared that the Nets will be championship contenders in the next five years, no small claim. 

It's highly possible that the Jazz and Nets used this game as a showcase for a trade possibility. The Jazz currently have three small forwards on their roster, too many cooks in the kitchen. One of those cooks is Kirilenko and a contract that Utah would love to pass on to some other team who has the money. 

The Nets could also use a crafty veteran and lockdown defender in their starting lineup. And if it was a showcase, Kirilenko did not disappoint. Despite only shooting 2-9 from the field, Kirilenko scored 17 points, going 13 for 14 from the foul line. 

AK also grabbed eight rebounds, tied for a game high. Defensively, Kirilenko was a beast: four steals and two blocks. He was a mirror image of his most youthful self and the least disappointing Jazz player on the floor.

But of course he was--it was Russia in Newark if for only one evening.