Another Andrei Kirilenko potential destination?


The Los Angeles Lakers have recently been granted a $4.85 million disabled player exception after learning that Steve Nash would be lost for the season. (It’s the same exception the Nets got when they lost Brook Lopez for the season last year, though Lopez’s was a bit more thanks to his higher salary. The Nets ended up not using it.) Thanks to this new toy, Jacob Rude of Lake Show Life speculated that the Lakers could use the exception on embattled Nets forward Andrei Kirilenko, who struggled in seven games this season and appears to have played his last game in Brooklyn:

If the Nets do waive Kirilenko, the Lakers could make a claim on him using the disabled player exception. He would likely offer an upgrade over Wesley Johnson and certainly couldn’t do worse than the incumbent. Even if he’s not claimed, he could also be brought in as a free agent either at the veteran minimum or using either the Julius Randle disabled player exception or this one, depending on his contract size and the Lakers’ interest level.

via Lake Show Life — Lakers Rumors: Andrei Kirilenko A Possible Addition

First, it’s worth noting that the Nets don’t even have to waive Kirilenko, as Rude suggests; the Lakers theoretically could swallow the entirety of Kirilenko’s contract into the exception without having to send anything in return, though the Nets would assuredly pursue a draft pick or two as compensation. They couldn’t have done that without the exception, which makes this an intriguing option.

It’s a move that might make sense for the Lakers if they’re looking to appease Kobe Bryant by proving they want at least one player who might help them win that doesn’t take an exorbitant amount of shots. But Kirilenko’s struggles, combined with his home life (he has a child on the way) and a possible desire to finish his career in Russia, make Los Angeles an unlikely landing spot. It seems more plausible that Kirilenko gets dished shortly after December 15th, when players signed over the summer become trade-eligible, or dumped & waived soon after.