Twelve year NBA veteran Andrei Kirilenko has informed the Nets that he will remain with the team by exercising his player option for the upcoming season, according to NBA.com's David Aldridge. The option is reportedly worth $3.3 million, which would be a slight raise over his $3.1 million salary last season.
The 6'9" Russian was controversially signed after he rejected a one year, $10 million option from his previous team, which was the Minnesota Timberwolves. The league investigated the signing after some officials around the league alleged that Nets owner (and Kirilenko acquaintance) Mikhail Prokhorov skirted NBA rules by possibly promising Kirilenko more money under-the-table. The league eventually found no proof of any shady deal and cleared both Kirilenko and Prokhorov.
Kirilenko was limited to 45 games last season due to a back injury, which may have played a role in his limited effectiveness over the course of the year. After averaging 12.4 points per game during his first eleven years in the league, Kirilenko averaged just five points during his first season in Brooklyn. Kirilenko's defense, once the strongest attribute of his game and certainly a reason why the Nets targeted him, slipped this year, as advanced statistics such as Defensive Win Shares (0.9) and Defensive Rating (107) rated this past season as the worst of his career (statistics from BasketballReference.com).
According to HoopsHype.com, the Nets' payroll now stands at just over $88.5 million following Kirilenko's decision to remain in Brooklyn.
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