Andrei Kirilenko

Kirilenko to Nets rumor out there, refuted by other sources


7:15 pm: The rumor started out of Europe, but here in the United States everybody denies it. Here is what Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News tweeted that echoed the consensus.

It has been reiterated: No truth to there being a deal with Nets and Kirilenko and no discussions about next season.

Of course there was no direct contact at this point between the team and Andrei Kirilenko. At this point it would all be handled through back channels. There would be nothing official and anything discussed would be in general terms. How far the back channel talks have gone, who knows, we will never know for sure.

But there is a lot of smoke here, plus there is some logic to this rumor for me. That said, we are a long way from people signing contracts.

3:06 pm: When the lockout came, Andrei Kirilenko took his talents to his native Moscow, playing for European power CSKA Moscow.

Now a Russian connection may be bringing him back to the NBA and Brooklyn. Here is a tweet from European basketball writer Wendell Maxey (via Sam Amick of SI):

spoke with two contacts in russia close to andrei kirilenko. say AK to brooklyn nets deal in place. plans to sign 3-year after euroleague.

Interesting. You can bet Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov has his fingerprints on this. No official announcement would come until CSKA Moscow is done with Euroleague next month.

Obviously, Dwight Howard remains target number one for Brooklyn this summer, but that is at the whims of the Magic. But what if the Nets get Kirilenko — who played with Deron Williams in Utah — and keep Gerald Wallace. Would that be enough to convince D-Will to stay and not bolt for Dallas?

Either way, this is a nice pickup for the Nets. Curious what the price is, but he’s a quality NBA player at both ends of the floor, averaging 12 points — a 6-9 forward who shot 36.7 percent from three — and five rebounds per game his last season in Utah. In Europe this year he averaged 14 and 7, shooting 60 percent from the floor, and was named Euroleague’s top defender.

Hezonja throws down one-handed dunk in preseason debut

Orlando Magic Introduce 2015 NBA Draft Picks
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Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, has never lacked for confidence. The Croatian guard made his pro debut in the Magic’s preseason game against the Hornets on Saturday and did this:

Between Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, the Magic have a nucleus of young players that has the potential to be a lot of fun. Even if they’re still a few years away from contending, they’re definitely going to be a League Pass favorite this year.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist suffers dislocated shoulder in preseason game

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Solomon Hill
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Preseason is only just getting underway and there’s already a potentially serious injury to report. In the game between the Hornets and Magic on Saturday night, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was taken to the locker room after suffering a right shoulder injury. The Hornets announced that he was then taken to an Orlando-area hospital for follow-up x-rays:

A few hours after the game, the Hornets announced that Kidd-Gilchrist has a dislocated shoulder:

Depending on the severity of the injury, he could miss a few weeks or a few months. Hopefully, it’s the shorter end of that timeline. We should know more on Sunday.