Most of the big NBA free agency news broke during the late afternoon on Thursday, as the Los Angeles Lakers chose to use the amnesty provision, the Brooklyn Nets managed to sign another big-name player and the Minnesota Timberwolves finalized a sign-and-trade for shooting guard Kevin Martin. Meanwhile, Monta Ellis, Brandon Jennings and Gerald Henderson are stuck in a holding pattern without a clear signal as to their ultimate destination. Here's a wrap up of the latest happenings in the NBA.
Nets snatch up Andrei Kirilenko at a steep discount
Andrei Kirilenko shocked the NBA world on Thursday, as he stepped back from what most expected to be a competitive market and signed at a steep discount to join the Brooklyn Nets. He agreed to sign with the Nets on a three-year deal worth $3.18 million annually, which is a significant reduction from the $10 million salary he opted out of with Minnesota to become a free agent this summer. The small contract will add to a massive tax bill for the Nets.
AK 47 deal already drawing confused and angry whispers from other teams.— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) July 11, 2013
NetsDaily has more on the relationships that helped lure Kirilenko to Brooklyn:
Kirilenko, a personal friend and former teammate of Deron Williams, was believed to be in line for a contract at least twice as big, but it now appears that the 6'9" Russian forward has agreed to a lesser deal but with an organization that is likely to win and win big.
Perhaps more significantly, Kirilenko will join Prokhorov, the NBA's first Russian and European owner. Prokhorov and Kirilenko have been close for years. AK-47 played for CSKA Moscow when Prokhorov owned it and Prokhorov tried to buy out Kirilenko's Jazz contract in 2007 after he led Team Russia to the European championship.
Top available free agents remaining
The list of impact free agents is dwindling, and the biggest names left on the market are either restricted free agents -- Brandon Jennings, Gerald Henderson, Ivan Johnson, Gary Neal -- or volume scoring guards with questionable value -- Monta Ellis, Nate Robinson. Jennings is stuck in limbo as the Bucks wait for the Atlanta Hawks to decide on how they will respond to the four-year, $32 million offer sheet Jeff Teague has signed. Teague has told Hawks GM Danny Ferry that he's looking for a fresh start, but Atlanta still has approximately two days to match the offer.
Meanwhile, the Bobcats are exploring sign-and-trade options with Gerald Henderson after reaching an impasse in contract negotiations, and Monta Ellis is still searching for a serious offer that comes anywhere close to the eight-figure annual salary he turned down in Milwaukee. A team looking for a scoring boost off the bench could always make a smaller offer to Nate Robinson or Gary Neal, so Ellis may have a difficult time securing a lucrative deal.
Lakers sign Nick Young
The Los Angeles Lakers decided to use the amnesty provision on Metta World Peace to strip $21.5 million from the books over three years, and on the same day a deal with swingman Nick Young was announced. Young played at USC in college and went to high school in the Los Angeles area, so it's something of a homecoming for the 28-year-old scorer.
Other Lakers business has been pushed to the background for the time being. Lakers blog Silver Screen and Roll notes that the signing of Chris Kaman has yet to be officially announced, and the status of Jordan Farmar's buyout with his Turkish Basketball League club has not been updated.
Luke Ridnour traded to Bucks as Timberwolves complete sign-and-trade for Kevin Martin
The Timberwolves completed a sign-and-trade on Thursday that brings Kevin Martin to Minnesota, ships Luke Ridnour to Milwaukee and leaves the Thunder with a valuable trade exception and the useless draft rights to former second-round Bucks pick Szymon Szewczyk.
The Wolves retained their mid-level exception in the deal, which they will use to sign Corey Brewer to a three-year, $15 million deal.