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Andrei Kirilenko: Moving with a purpose

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Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Shaun Livingston says of Andrei Kirilenko that he "moves with a purpose." Livingston is referring to AK-47's court persona, but it could also apply to his decision-making off the court. Not just taking less money to try for a ring, but retiring from international ball, to spend time with his  family and rest.

Kirilenko tells Andrew Keh of the Times why he joined the Nets at the bargain price of $3.2 million, $6.8 million less than he would have made if he had stayed in Minnesota and less than half what he had hoped for when he told the Timberwolves he was opting out. He wanted a long-term deal that averaged $8 million.

"I feel like we can go all the way, and we can win the title. And I think I deserve the chance to try," he told Keh. "I know the money’s not perfect. I’m losing some. It is what it is. I’ve already made so much money playing basketball. My contract right now is great. I can’t complain. It’s a lot of money."

As for his retirement from the Russian national team (as one of Russia's all time great players), AK-47 says the rest helped and made him "hungry," rather than tired, for the NBA.

Keh also talks to Deron Williams, Kirilenko's teammate and friend who helped recruit him. "There’s not many players in this league — I don’t think there’s any players in this league — that can fill up a stat sheet the way he does," Williams said.

Kirilenko, who Williams describes as the NBA's best "cutter" on the court, is one of three active players with a 5x5 game - five or more points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals -- and one of two all-time with a 6x5 game. Hakeem Olajuwon is the other.