Last Friday a report surfaced that claimed that NBA owners and front office executives were suspicious of the Brooklyn Nets deal with Andrei Kirilenko. After all, the Russian All-Star had opted-out of a $10 million deal with the Timberwolves to look for a three-year, $24 million contract only to eventually settle on a $3.1 million deal with the Nets.
Perhaps, some thought, that there was a backdoor deal going on between the Nets Russian owner Mikhail Prokhorov and fellow Russian Kirilenko. However, during the introductory press conference on Thursday Prokhorov denied these claims and said that he only spoke with Kirilenko after the signing went down.
“I wasn’t involved in the deal,” Prokhorov claimed. “I called him only after the deal was closed. I think it’s a situation for Billy King. I’m not surprised because in the league we have a lot of examples of people when they want to be a champion they’ll sometimes take less money.”
“I think old stereotypes are very hard to break,” he said in a thick Russian accent. “I want to thank our fans and members of the press because they have been very good to support us. I respect the NBA rules and will play by the NBA rules. I want to stress once again, about the luxury tax, I will do whatever I can, but under the NBA rules.”
Prokhorov also explained that he expects the value of the franchise to increase, as he would expect with all of his investments. That is why he has been so aggressive while spending. He believes that it will make the team more valuable overall to win in his first five years than if he waited 10-15 years instead.
“I’ll do myself whatever I can do in order to reach a championship,” Prokhorov said. “In the end money is important, but you can’t buy a championship only spending money. The most important is to get the right pieces together. Frankly speaking, I’ll do whatever to reach a championship here in Brooklyn. For me it was the goal when I bought the team. To me there is only one thing, a championship.”