If there was any doubt before that the Brooklyn Nets view themselves as serious championship contenders for next season there shouldn’t be anymore as they made their latest splash last night by signing Andrei Kirilenko and pushed their payroll to $101.26 million next year. Here are some reactions to that deal:
- Tim Bontemps of the NY Post called it a “stunning makeover” said that on Wednesday the Nets looked like they were going to have to scrape the bottom of the barrel to find a backup small forward to play for the veterans minimum after the Bojan Bogdanovic deal fell through. He also called the deal the single-best bargain of the entire summer and said it gives the Nets incredible depth and versatility on their frontline.
- David Aldridge of TNT explained that Kirilenko walked away from at least $7 million more from other teams, but choose the Nets because they give him a chance to win while playing for a Russian owner. He also said that he was concerned about sign-and-trade deals with other teams wouldn’t work out.
- Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today explained how the deal was only made possible when an agreement with Bojan Bogdanovic fell apart on Wednesday which left the Nets with a mid-level exception. He also called the deal “one strong backup plan, especially at that price.”
- Alex Raskin of NJ.com said that this deal causes the Knicks Andrea Bargnani deal to lose some luster, but explained that he wouldn’t call the deal a bargain since it pushes the luxury tax bill over $80 million for next season.
- Mike Mazzeo of ESPNNewYork.com said that Miami is still the obvious favorite, but on paper the Nets are a top-four team in the East. He also added that one would be hard-pressed to say that the Knicks are better.
- Stefan Bondy of the NY Daily News said that Kirilenko should become the Nets’ sixth man and a valuable backup to Paul Pierce, who doesn’t play starter’s minutes during the regular season. He also pointed out that last offseason the Nets pursued him to defend star players like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony , a role he will likely pick up this season.