Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kirilenko looks to pass the ball as he falls to the fall in front of teammate Williams and Brooklyn Nets guard Johnson in the first quarter of their NBA basketball game in New York

Report: Nets to sign Andrei Kirilenko to two-year contract starting at $3.18 million


The rich get richer.

Or the rich get poorer, depending on your perspective.

The Nets, already set to pay an unprecedentedly large luxury tax, will add another player who adds to the bill.

Peter Vecsey of the New York Post:

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com:

After opting out of a Timberwolves contract that would have paid him $10.2 million next season, Kirilenko is settling for much less in Brooklyn, though he’ll cost the Nets about five times what they’ll pay him. Maybe the market proved to be tighter than he imagined, but maybe he values playing for a contender,

The Nets – with Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Brook Lopez – already had a formidable starting lineup, and Kirilenko is a major upgrade to a bench that already had Jason Terry and Andray Blatche. Kirilenko looked like he was aging out of the league in 2010-11, but after spending 2011-12 playing in Russia, Kirilenko looked rejuvenated in Minnesota last season, playing his trademark all-around basketball featuring strong defense.

Still, Kirilenko is 32, and it’s possible his production will remain up and down (or decline). But if the Nets can hold off aging – not as easy as it sounds; just ask the 2012-13 Lakers – Brooklyn going to be very good next season.

Kobe Bryant says his age 37 is not like Michael Jordan’s age 37

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Once again, Kobe Bryant‘s career arc is being compared to Michael Jordan’s.

There’s a lot of reason’s that’s flawed — starting with Kobe being drafted on to a Lakers team that had Shaquille O’Neal and was already considered NBA elite, as opposed to Jordan working to build a franchise up. That said, Kobe has invited the Jordan comparison at times and it has been a constant through is career. Fair or not.

Kobe is coming back this fall after seasons of injury to the NBA and those comparisons continue — now to the Wizards’ version of Jordan. And Kobe is not at all fond of that, as he told Sam Amick of the USA Today.

“This is uncharted territory,” he said. “My 37 (years old) isn’t MJ’s 37 (when he returned after taking two seasons off to play for the Washington Wizards), you know what I mean? Nor is it the same team or the same system that he was playing in. It’s much, much different. There’s really no barometer, no (precedent) for training physically, for recovery. It’s uncharted territory.”

Kobe is right. Jordan had four+ seasons off by the time he was 37 and was not coming off multiple major surgeries.

Kobe is entering his 20th NBA season and what any real basketball fan should wish for him is health. Let him play one full season (with limited minutes and nights off), let him get to the final game of this season next April and make his own decision on his future. Let him leave the game on his own terms.

That said, if Kobe can average Jordan’s numbers at that age — 22.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game — it will be a major accomplishment, and the Lakers will have a better record than many of us expect.

And Kobe may want to play a 21st season as well.

Celtics ease to 124-91 win at Olimpia Milano in Global Games

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MILAN (AP) — The Boston Celtics eased to a 124-91 victory over Olimpia Milano at the Mediolanum Forum on Tuesday, comfortably winning the first of a double-header in Europe as part of the NBA Global Games.

Isaiah Thomas led the way for the Celtics with 18 points, including nine in his first seven minutes after coming off the bench midway through the first quarter.

Jared Sullinger added 14 points, as did Avery Bradley, who also had four three-pointers, while David Lee weighed in with 13 as well as seven rebounds and three assists.

Alessandro Gentile – who is reportedly wanted by the Houston Rockets, who hold NBA rights to the 22-year-old – top scored for Milano, with 19 points.

Next up for the Celtics is Real Madrid in Spain on Thursday.