Nets introduce Andrei Kirilenko to Brooklyn

The 6-foot-9 Andrei Kirilenko will likely be the first forward off the bench. Credit: Getty Images
The 6-foot-9 Andrei Kirilenko will likely be the first forward off the bench.
Credit: Getty Images

It took a couple weeks longer than originally planned, but Andrei Kirilenko received his official introduction to Brooklyn on Thursday.

Kirilenko, who was signed to a two-year, $6.5 million deal on July 12, was originally scheduled to appear at the blockbuster press conference introducing Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry. But Kirilenko missed the date due to an overseas obligation, so he got his introduction in a conference call three weeks later.

The 32-year-old veteran forward will be a key contributor off the bench this season. And he already has his eyes on a championship.

“It was really the best option possible to take a legit chance and win the trophy,” Kirilenko said. “For the first time in my career, I’m starting the season when we know we have a chance to win the trophy.”

Kirilenko played with the Timberwolves last season, where he averaged 12.4 points, 2.8 assists and 5.7 rebounds per game. Those numbers are remarkably similar to his career averages over 11 seasons (12.4 points, 2.8 assists, 5.6 rebounds).

He first made his mark in the league in Utah, where he spent the first 10 years of his career. He averaged 15.8 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game over three seasons from 2003-06 — the height of his career.

This season will present a different challenge for Kirilenko, however. He has been a starter for almost his entire career. After coming off the bench in his first two seasons, he has been a starter all but one season (2008-09).

The Nets are likely to field a starting five of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Brook Lopez. All five players are former All Stars, leaving little doubt Kirilenko will be coming off the bench.

Kirilenko has long been rumored to be joining the Nets. Brooklyn courted the free agent last season, but he signed for more money in Minnesota. With Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov as majority owner, the Nets always seemed a likely destination.

“I was in Utah [when Prokhorov bought the Nets,]” Kirilenko said. “I was thinking it was great, especially in New York with the Russian community. I had those thoughts that one day I would be with the Nets.”

He apparently held no hopes of staying with the Timberwolves for the 2013-14 season, saying head coach Flip Saunders did not want him back. He decided to opt out of his contract, leaving $10 million on the table.

“I respect Flip Saunders’s decision, but he decided not to sign me for a long time,” Kirilenko said. “I can’t do anything about that.”

Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

New Apple devices include default kill switch

By Marina LopesWASHINGTON (Reuters) - New Apple Inc phones include a theft deterrent system that enables users to lock their devices and wipe them clean…

National

PHOTO: Photographer comes face-to-face with deadly crocodile

A deadly crocodile comes face-to-face with a courageous photographer, who manages to take a set of jaw-dropping pictures of the teeth-baring reptile.

Local

Brooklyn packed for annual West Indian Day Parade

Brooklyn’s Eastern Parkway was packed Monday with an estimated one million people showing up on Labor Day to celebrate West Indian culture.

Local

James Michael Tyler on Gunther, Central Perk and…

We spoke with Gunther (James Michael Tyler) at the preview for new pop-up Central Perk, based on the cafe in "Friends."

Arts

Rita Wilson joins the fall lineup at Cafe…

As a ticket-taker at the Universal Amphitheater in Orlando in the mid-'70s, actress, producer and singer Rita Wilson found musical inspiration in good supply, including…

Movies

Review: Kevin Smith's 'Tusk' is insane even for…

Kevin Smith returns to the horror genre, only with more jokes this time, with "Tusk," in which Michael Parks wants to turn Justin Long into a walrus.

Movies

Fall Arts Guide: NYC's repertory film scene boasts…

Among the best repertory film series in NYC this fall include old subway movies at BAM, Capra at Film Forum and actual celluloid at the IFC Center.

Music

Needtobreathe's revival: From broken up to resurrected

Needtobreathe talks about breaking up and reuniting while recording their latest album, "Rivers in the Wastelands."

NFL

Eric Decker 'unlikely to play' against Bears: Source

Jets wide receiver Eric Decker's status for Monday night’s game against the Bears is in doubt after he missed practice again Wednesday.

NFL

Preston Parker, not Odell Beckham, will replace Jerrel…

Tom Coughlin noted the next man up will be unheralded veteran Preston Parker.

NFL

NFL Week 3 full schedule (kickoff time, TV)

NFL Week 3 full schedule (kickoff time, TV)

NFL

Fantasy football: Run with Knile Davis, Khiry Robinson,…

Fantasy football: Run with Knile Davis, Khiry Robinson, Donald Brown

Sex

Why don't more couples use condoms?

  Call it the “condom moment.” That’s the name the authors of a new study have given to the pivotal conversation every couple should be…

Sex

Need an idea for a first date? Here's…

Picture your idea of a nice first date. Is it dinner and a movie? A visit to an interesting museum exhibit? Instead, an expert on…

Career

Here's why the newly-crowned Miss America deleted her…

Miss America pageant winner Kira Kazantsev quietly deleted her LinkedIn profile this week after her work history came under attack by conservative critics. Many of the…

Career

Zosia Mamet explains why leaning in is not…

Zosia Mamet is living proof that even if you don't think you can get a job you're going for, you should still try. Along with…