The Brooklyn Nets 2013 offseason somehow got even better Thursday night. The Nets signed Russian forward Andrei Kirilenko to the mini-MLE, which will pay him just under $10 million over the next 3 seasons. The third season is a player option. Had he chose to opt-in to his player option with the Minnesota Timberwolves for next season, he would have made $10 million in one year alone.
After the Nets failed to bring over Bojan Bogdanovic from Europe, fans believed that they would not be able to sign a player of his caliber and instead move on to a Plan B. Instead, the Nets moved to Plan A+, signing a proven NBA veteran, who is also Russian to appeal to Nets fans overseas.
The Nets were very fortunate that Kirilenko was selfless enough to sign for so little. He could have made much more money elsewhere, but he clearly wants to win and this team is capable of winning a championship next season.
Still, the Nets will be paying a lot to have Kirilenko. Because of the Nets’ luxury tax situation, the Nets will be paying approximately $15 million per year to have Kirilenko even though he will only be getting about $3 million.
With this signing, the Nets are now clear championship contenders. Not only is their starting lineup perhaps the best in the NBA, but their bench is very good as well, which could come in handy if they have any injuries. After the starting lineup of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Brook Lopez, Brooklyn will have Shaun Livingston, Jason Terry, Andrei Kirilenko, Reggie Evans, and Andray Blatche backing them up. That bench lineup is good enough to beat some NBA teams.
Get ready Nets fans. This season is going to be an unforgettable one.