The nerve of NBA owners thinking a star Russian basketball player is shady because he chose a mid level exception from a Russian billionaire owner over the tens of millions from another team.
That was exactly the scenario when NBA owners complained and cried foul over Andrei Kirilenko opting out of his deal in Minnesota and leaving millions on the table to play for the Brooklyn Nets and owner Mikhail Prokhorov for cheap.
The New York Post is reporting that NBA owners complained, and the league itself took formal steps to investigate Kirilenko’s signing.
The league, after getting complaints from at least one other team that suggested improper agreements, examined the signing and found nothing against the rules.
“When there is a formal complaint, the league will look into it,” said one league official who spoke in generalities and refused comment on the Kirilenko issue.
So the league launched its investigation, questioning participants. Nets officials were summoned — at one point over a weekend, which is usually a time off in the summer for league execs.
“It was a very, VERY, thorough investigation,” one source maintained. “They checked everything.”
Kirilenko’s agent called the complaints and investigation bogus.
“Basically, the offers and things we had from other teams were too difficult to make happen,” Fleisher said, referring to the necessity of a possible sign-and-trade or complicated deal.
And in the end, the chance to play with a legitimate contender, even for considerably less, was the final tipping point.