Conspiracy Theories Follow Nets

It came up again, not surprisingly, Thursday as Andrei Kirilenko was officially introduced as a member of the Nets, complete with the two-year free-agent deal that has become the stuff of international intrigue.

Talks of a conspiracy theory was an easy jump to make the instant Russian Kirilenko signed with the Nets, owned by Russian Mikhail Prokhorov, at a massive pay cut. AK-47 opted out of his 2013-14 Timberwolves contract worth $10 million for $3.1 million in Brooklyn, plus a second season at a player option. It was actually easy long before this, the way the NBA had no real chance to follow the money in the former Soviet Union. The natural connection with Kirilenko brought it to the forefront, but truthfully, there likely would have been concerns about secret deals with a non-Russian player at some point.

It was so easy that several executives – anonymously, of course – made accusations without evidence, at least evidence they would be keeping to themselves.

That’s when it became a problem. Speculation from media and fans is one thing, but being called a cheat by opponents is another. But there they were, as originally detailed by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:

“Let’s see if the league has any credibility,” one owner said. “It’s not about stopping it. It’s about punishing them if they’re doing it.”

“There should be a probe,” an Eastern Conference GM added. “How obvious is it?”

How convenient to be able to accuse someone of the serious charge of circumventing the salary cap without having to show your face. Or hand over evidence.

What I would give to be in their office the day another team drops the same insinuation on them.

History has shown that assumptions are a bad idea and that owners from the United States are perfectly capable of breaking rules. But Kirilenko faced the insinuation Thursday in a conference call with reporters, saying, as detailed by Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News.

“I can’t do anything with what people think. I’m coming from the facts,” said Kirilenko. “I can’t change it. I can’t control it…. Those type of rumors I can’t control. And I guess it comes from the history because of the Russian KGB. It makes it a little funny. What can I do?”

11 Comments

  1. kenny says:

    like James Wade and Bosh did

  2. Ro says:

    Who… Cares…
    If they didnt do anything illegal, what are the GM’s complaining about? If money bags wants to pay bazillions in luxury tax, let him! It’s not like Kirilenko is himself 7-8 years ago. No game changer or anything.
    Does anyone actually think they’re doing anything wrong?
    Nets will be lucky to make it to the conference finals anyway, and if they dont win it this year, there wont be another chance with that group.

  3. LA-Supporter@Manila says:

    This guys are from eastern opponents because they are shivering.. They all know that Nets would land on at least the top 4 and eventually can get the Eastern crown.. Go Nets!! Nets Vs LA for 2013-2014 crown.. Just dreamin..

  4. vernon says:

    Nets still wont advance. Not this season atleast.

  5. vernon says:

    You all can be naive if you want. Give up 10 to get 3 and you don’t think money under the table made up for the 7 million he left. They’re old close friends from Russia. It’s not like that doesn’t go on in the league. He might even get 7 million on his birthday. Who’s to say it wasn’t just a birthday gift?

  6. kobe ballhog says:

    there is a valid point its the easiest way to go around the league rule, who could ever trace something like that? given their russian connections

  7. Shin Dung Fha says:

    why did these so called moral GMs said anything when Miami Heat grab the 3 stars? they are just jealous coz they cant do the same. I am not a nets fan, nor a AK47 fan, but like LBJ and company, he has a reason like every NBAer does, a chance to have the ring.

  8. JpKoff says:

    I’m pretty sure Prokhorov has found a way for AK47 to make up for the official salary cut, without anybody being able to prove anything. But i don’t view that as cheating, more like patriotic friendliness, which is a good thing. Anyway the Nets are overloaded, the roster looks like an all-star B-team.

  9. Imeano says:

    So…if Kirilenko walked into Prokhorov’s office, sat down, signed a contract and winked…would there be punishment 10 years later if Kirilenko bumped into Prokhorov and was offered a gift from a billionaire? The other GM’s are on to something, this needs to be probed! … I mean, it’s not like Bosh, Wade and Lebron took pay cuts from an organization about to gain a lot of Media exposure, with other lucrative deals or connections on the side. It’s not like the Gasol trade to the Lakers was a head scratcher. Or Stern stopping the Chris Paul tra….nevermind.

  10. Fefe (Nets) says:

    LOL
    Conspiracy theory about this??? Haha. Kirilenko just wants to win that’s all.
    GO MY NETS (from a 13 year long fan since starting following the NBA). NO BANDWAGON.

    ¨People are sayin we are too old: watch out cuz we are way too deep’. Barring injuries, we will be 3rd in the East (yes in front of Chicago) and come playoff time, with JT, KG, PP if we meet Miami they won’t go out easy like that!