NBA investigated Andrei Kirilenko signing, found nothing

Andrei Kirilenko

Andrei Kirilenko (AP)

Xenophobia rears its ugly head, but comes up empty.

Under pressure from at least one rival owner, the NBA launched an investigation into the contract between free agent forward Andrei Kirilenko and the Brooklyn Nets, finding no evidence of rule-breaking, according to Fred Kerber of the New York Post.

Kirilenko opted out of the final year of his contract with Minnesota, worth $10 million, and signed a two-year deal worth $6.4 million with the Brooklyn Nets. Though it’s never stated, the implication is that Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, who is Russian, had a backdoor deal with the Russian Kirilenko, circumventing the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement to pay Kirilenko more money under the table through illicit means.

“Old stereotypes, they’re very hard to beat and to break,” Prokhorov said of the rumors after surprising reporters and fans alike at a press conference in July.

The truth, as I see it: Kirilenko thought he’d make more with the Timberwolves or on the open market, but signed the contract with Brooklyn after other offers dried up or never materialized.

Kirilenko’s loss is Brooklyn’s gain, not that money matters much to Kirilenko: after signing a deal with CSKA Moscow (a team Prokhorov owned from 1997-2007) in 2011, Kirilenko vowed to donate his entire salary to charity.

Fred Kerber, New York Post — Nets probed, cleared by NBA in Kirilenko signing