Brooklyn Nets hope Andrei Kirilenko can help Sergey Karasev develop

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

He is the "X" factor in Monday's big trade, a 6'7" shooting guard with point guard or point forward skills, still a bit skinny at age 20 but the future of Russian basketball. He was the youngest player to medal -- a bronze -- in men's basketball at the 2012 London Olympics. And now, he's playing for a Russian owner and with his Russian teammate at the Olympics ... Who could wind up as his mmentors

A member of the Nets ownership team wants everyone to know the Nets like Sergey Karasev not because he's Russian, but because the Nets see him as a future star, one who can be helped along by Andrei Kirilenko.

"Our scouts were waiting for Sergey at #22 last year," the official told NetsDaily, talking about last year's draft when Karasev went at #19. "The fact that he is Russian plays a role, but I would never push him if basketball operations were not high on the guy."

No doubt, the Nets looked at him before the Draft ... and even wanted to see if the Cavs would trade his rights. They wouldn't. Now, they have. Karasev was hopeful about how things will work but said mostly he wants to play after sitting most of last season as a teenager on the Cavs bench or playing in the D-League's half-full arenas. He told his followers on the Russian equivalent of Facebook that he is excited by playing with AK-47 (not mentioning who owns the team.)

"Am I glad or not – time will tell. I am sure that Brooklyn is a good destination, because, as I said before, the most important thing for me is getting playing time. I want to play and be valuable for the team.

"The Nets’ roster is full of experienced players who I can learn a lot from. And, of course, it’s really great to be joining Andrei Kirilenko."

Kirilenko also addressed the issue of Karasev's desire to play in talking to his followers...noting that some of the Nets players are getting older and Karasev, at 20 years of age, should be patient. He promised to help him but not overwhelm him.

"I’ve known Sergey since he was a kid, I played on a team with his father. Of course I will always help Sergey. I don't like the word "father figure". I played on the Timberwolves with Alexey Shved and always tried to help him, give some advice, but never patronized him. Sergey and Alexey are grown up guys, they know it perfectly themselves what they need to do. There is no way I will interfere in Sergey’s life and I’m even less likely to play basketball for him."

Indeed, the Nets hope by pairing Kirilenko and Karasev, they'll get development dividends. And the Nets note that Karasev's development will be a priority.  The Nets see in Karasev a player who could even become the next Kirilenko. Still, Russian hoops blogger Alexander Chernykh, who translated and posted the Russians' comments, says Karasev probably realizes he's got a tough year ahead with the Nets "stacked roster."

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