Nets sign Andrei KirilenkoAssociated Press
NEW YORK—The Brooklyn Nets have agreed to a contract with Russian forward Andrei Kirilenko, another strong addition for an NBA team that has loaded up on talent this offseason.
Kirilenko accepted the taxpayer’s mid-level exception worth about $3.2 million this season. The contract includes a player option for the second year, a person with knowledge of the deal said on Thursday on condition of anonymity because it has not been announced.
The Russian forward opted out of his $10.2 million deal for next season with the Minnesota Timberwolves and found a home with the Nets — owned by fellow Russian and former CSKA Moscow owner Mikhail Prokhorov.
The versatile forward is the latest acquisition for a team whose previous moves this offseason include a pending trade to acquire Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett from Boston.
Kirilenko likely will be popular in Brooklyn, where there is a strong Russian presence.
The 6-foot-9 (2.06-meter) Kirilenko averaged 12.4 points, right at his career average, last season for the Timberwolves. But his strength is his versatility on defense, where he can match up with forwards and guards.
It’s another costly move for the Nets, who already were facing a league-high tax payment of more than $70 million next season, the first of the most severe penalties for the NBA’s biggest spenders. But Prokhorov has set a goal of a championship within five years and the Nets have clearly upgraded after winning 49 games and losing in the first round of the playoffs last season.
Earlier, they announced the re-signing of backup forward-center Andray Blatche and the signing of guard Shaun Livingston, who has played for seven teams in eight seasons.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Lakers waived Metta World Peace under the NBA’s amnesty provision, which will save the team about $15 million in luxury tax. He was set to earn $7.7 million next season, which the Lakers still must pay.
He averaged 12.4 points and 5.0 rebounds in 75 games last season, having joined the Lakers in 2009. The 33-year-old tore knee cartilage in March and clearly wasn’t the same player afterward. He didn’t play in the last game of San Antonio’s four-game sweep of the Lakers in the first playoff round.
The former Ron Artest legally changed his name during his tenure with the team. One of the highlights of his time with the Lakers was his big play in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals, which helped them beat Boston for the franchise’s 16th championship.
Kobe Bryant wanted to keep him, tweeting this week that he’d hold onto World Peace and try to make a run with the team the Lakers had.
The Dallas Mavericks signed free-agent Spanish point guard Jose Calderon. His agent Mark Bartelstein said last week the contract was worth $29 million over four seasons.
Calderon led the NBA in 3-point shooting at 46 percent last season. The 31-year-old Calderon played professionally in Spain for six seasons before coming to the NBA. He has career averages of 10.1 points and 7.2 assists and is a 40 percent shooter from 3-point range.
Manu Ginobili signed his contract with the Spurs and will be joined in San Antonio next season by Italian guard Marco Belinelli, who averaged 9.6 points in 73 games last season for Chicago.
The 36-year-old Ginobili, from Argentina, has won three titles with the Spurs and helped them reach the NBA Finals this season despite battling injuries.