Wow. The Nets capped off their incredible offseason by signing Andrei Kirilenko to the mini-MLE, a contract worth two-years, $3.1M with a one-year player option.
The only word to describe this is wow. Kirilenko took a $7M pay cut to play for the Nets and come off the bench (probably). This makes Brooklyn very deep and very, very threatening to the contending teams in the East. I’m really, really excited.
To break it down in more logical terms are fellow members of The Brooklyn Game team, Justin DeFeo and Will Rausch.
Let’s do it.
1. Grade this signing. (There is only one correct answer.)
- Chris Hooker: A+. I was stunned by this signing. Stunned. The Nets have been rumored to get Kirilenko since back in the days of the New Jersey Nyets, and because of this, I’ve been sort of numb to rumors with his name on it. I actually thought they had a better shot to get him last year for the vet minimum, but then learning what his value is, I thought they had totally missed their chance to ever make AK-47 a Net. To get this defensive stud and all-around-good-at-everything player for just $3.1M is a steal. Billy King deserves high praise, and Mikhail Prokhorov a high five for the money he’s paying Kirilenko under the table with checks made out to ‘cash.’
- Justin DeFeo: A+. There simply was no more talented player available to the Nets than Kirilenko and at the mini-MLE the value they got him for was an absolute steal. Combine that with the fact that AK plugs a lot of holes on the wing, and is a great back up for both Pierce and KG, you have a home run.
- Will Rausch: What’s the highest grade in the Russian school system? What’s an A in the cyrillic alphabet? Oh, it’s just A. Then A it is! This is an absolute get for the Nets. They get a versatile, above average starting forward to come off the bench for the mini-MLE and give J-Kidd and company a plethora of lineup options. Combine this with the Blatche vet minimum deal, and the Nets have two of the best steals of the fre agency period. Not to mention that Prokhorov finally gets a Russian national on the Nets roster. Kirilenko is taking his talents to Brighton Beach and I love it.
- Hooker: The beauty of Kirilenko is that he fits in with any roster. He can play any position. He can guard any position. He’s good at everything. He can score, he can rebound, he can dish. He hustles and is aggressive. He is an above average defender. Kirilenko can fill any hole the Nets need him to fill. So where does he fit in? A more complicated question is where doesn’t he.
- DeFeo: The beauty of Kirilenko is his versatility. Offensively he’s someone who doesn’t need the ball to be effective, which given the rest of the Nets ball dominating tendencies is form fitting. Defensively, AK’s Swiss Armyness gives the Nets options: he can guard small ball fours, dynamic wings and even bullish guards in a pinch.
- Rausch: Everywhere and anywhere. The biggest need at the time of the signing was a small forward to rest the weary knees of Paul Pierce, and Kirilenko will do that. But he can also play the four alongside KG/Blatche at the five. AK-47 will never again be the All-Star he was almost a decade ago, but on this team, he doesn’t need to be.
- Hooker: I think Brooklyn’s eight man rotation, as far as deep-ness and overall ability, is the best in the East. I don’t think anyone has eight players total better than the Nets eight. Of course, LeBron is better than anyone in the conference, so it’s tough to say they are better than Miami. But, if you count LeBron as one entity, how can anyone say the Nets don’t have the best top-eight in the league? It’s going to be really exciting when these teams go at it.
- DeFeo: Still putting the Nets below the Heat, because as splashy and surprising as the Nets offseason still lacks a general “Lebron” quality.
- Rausch: They will be competing for the Eastern Conference crown, no doubt. But it would be ludicrous to say the new look Nets are the favorite and a slap in the face to the unanimous MVP (I’m ignoring you, Washburn) of the basketball universe, LeBron James. Especially when most of the Nets are on the wrong side of 30 and they have a rookie head coach. The potential is there, but Brooklyn hasn’t proven anything (n)yet.
2. Where does Andrei Kirilenko fit in on this roster?
3. Nets have an eight-man rotation that is very, very good. Compared to the rest of the Easy, how good is it?