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Kerber: NBA investigated Kirilenko signing, found nothing

Brooklyn Nets

Fred Kerber reports that at least one NBA owner requested a probe into the Nets signing of Andrei Kirilenko. The league undertook what was a "thorough" investigation but found no wrongdoing.  It's the first indication that the NBA actually investigated the signing.

The Russian star agreed to sign for the mini-MLE of $3.2 million on July 11, 12 days after he declined to exercise a $10 million player option with the Timberwolves, where he played last season.  In the interim, a sign-and-trade with the Spurs failed to materialize and the Cavaliers decided to go with Andrew Bynum rather than Kirilenko.

Following the signing, a number of NBA executives anonymously questioned how a Russia owner got such a discount. Kirilenko and Mikhail Prokhorov both denied anything untoward. The NBA interviewed Nets officials, said league sources.

"When there is a formal complaint, the league will look into it," said one league official who spoke to Kerber but refused comment on the Kirilenko issue.

The Nets pursued Kirilenko after an attempt to buy out Bojan Bogdanovic failed. A Nets official said at the time that the team had moved from "Plan B" to "Plan A+."Later, the Nets signed Alan Anderson, who they had pursued between the time Bogdanovic bailed out and Kirilenko agreed to sign.

"Old stereotypes, they’re very hard to beat and to break," Prokhorov said at the Nets July 18 press conferece. "I respect all the NBA rules and we play by the NBA rules. But I want just to stress once again, like with luxury tax, I will do whatever I can in order to win championship — but under the NBA rules. Please make no mistake about this."

He declined comment regarding the investigation.