Andrei Kirilenko

Deron Williams helping Nets try to recruit Kirilenko


Would Andrei Kirilenko come back to the NBA to play for the veteran minimum?

It’s kind of hard to picture, but that is what the Nets are trying to convince him to do, reports Marc Stein at ESPN. And they are using Deron Williams to do the recruiting.

Sources close to the process told that Team USA guard Deron Williams, though abroad on national team duty, is part of the recruiting effort on Kirilenko, his former Utah Jazz teammate.

Not immediately clear, though, is the number of teams that are part of the race or whether Kirilenko is indeed willing to play for a minimum salary a la Antawn Jamison, who recently made that sacrifice to join the Los Angeles Lakers.

The problem is money. The Nets can only offer a veteran minimum contract at this point. Golden State is reportedly in the mix and they may have mid-level money to offer, but they are also talking to Carl Landry and they will have to make a choice. Other teams may be talking to AK-47 as well.

Kirilenko, who said he will return to the NBA, wanted to make a decision before the Olympics start. Look for something to happen quickly.

Khris Middleton dunks, Jimmy Butler can’t stop him (VIDEO)

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Khris Middleton has more expectations and more pressure on him after a breakout season in Milwaukee, followed by him getting him PAID this summer.

Well, he looked pretty good on this play against the Bulls, making the steal then throwing down despite Jimmy Butler‘s efforts to stop him.

Middleton finished with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting for the Bucks. However, Butler had the last laugh as he went off for 23 points on 12 shots and led the Bulls to the (meaningless) preseason win.

Somebody looks comfortable: Paul George drops 20 in first quarter

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Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.

His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.

George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).

As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.