Andrei Kirilenko laughs off conspiracy rumors after joining Nets

Greg Smith-USA TODAY Sports

After forward Andrei Kirilenko signed with the Brooklyn Nets on a budget contract, speculation arose that he made an under-the-table deal with owner Mikhail Prokhorov, a fellow Russian.

When free agent Andrei Kirilenko went from chasing contracts that paid as much as $10 million annually to accepting a $3.2 million per year deal with the Brooklyn Nets this offseason, eyebrows were raised. How could he sacrifice $7 million per season?

Without any insider information, an easy answer was looking at the Nets' owner, Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, and citing a conspiracy theory. But Kirilenko told reporters on a conference call Thursday there's nothing but humor in the rumors, reports ESPN New York.

"As I said, those type of rumors, I can't control," Kirilenko said on a conference call with reporters Thursday. "I guess it comes from the history of Russia and the KGB. I don't know what that is, what it makes people think. It makes it a little funny, but if it looks funny in those situations, what can I do?"

Kirilenko opted out of a $10 million deal to return to the Minnesota Timberwolves for another year and on the free agent market appeared to be looking for a similar contract that spanned multiple years. The San Antonio Spurs had in-depth conversations with the versatile forward regarding a contract worth $8 million per year, but the two sides couldn't coax the Timberwolves to work out a sign-and-trade, Yahoo! Sports reported -- the Spurs didn't have the salary-cap space to outright sign Kirilenko on such a large deal.

Instead, the Nets signed Kirilenko to the taxpayer's mid-level exception and now Brooklyn's salary total is upwards of $102 million, or $16 million more than the second-highest team salary.

The reasoning on Kirilenko's end is obvious to him. The Nets had already acquired Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett in a trade from the Boston Celtics, and the opportunity to immediately challenge for a title on the NBA's most pricey roster was too good to pass up.

More from SB Nation:

Kenny Anderson says he was sexually abused

John Wall agrees to $80 million extension with Wizards

Profile: The rise of C.J. McCollum

Is Greg Oden worth the risk?

Ziller: Pistons grab Jennings, risk fans' sanity

Pau Gasol looks to regain footing on Lakers

The top 61 rookies at NBA Summer League

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.