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Sergei Karasev: "I was told the Nets insisted I be in the trade"

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Sergey Karasev spoke with Sport-Express, the big Russian sports site from Las Vegas Thursday, before departing for Orlando and the Nets summer league team, then on arrival with Lenn Robbins, the Nets' in-house beat writer.

He told S-E how much he's looking forward to working out with his Olympic teammate, Andrei Kirilenko ... and how the Nets told him that they insisted he be included in the deal.  He told Robbins how because of AK-47 and Mikhail Prokhorov, the Nets are now Russia's team in the NBA.

"I was told that the Nets showed serious interest in me," Karasev told the Sport-Express correspondent. "Like Cleveland was not going to give me up but Brooklyn insisted that I was to be included in the deal along with Jarrett Jack."  In fact, NetsDaily was told the Nets could have had picked up a second round pick or two, but wanted the 20-year-old who their scouts had been so high on.

"All Russian people watch Brooklyn," Karasev told Robbins. "I think this is the most popular team in Russia."

Asked about the Nets owner, Karasev smiled and said, "I think Prokhorov will say nice things about me."

Leaving Cleveland, he said, left a bit conflicted but the presence of Kirilenko, who he played with in the 2012 Olympics, reassures him that things will work out.

"I was mentally ready to move, because such rumors have circulated for a long time," Karasev told S-E. "On the other hand, I wanted to remain in Cleveland. I practiced with the team the whole of June and at the time of the trade, I had already traveled to Las Vegas for the start of summer camp with the Cavaliers."

"Naturally, I look upon the future with optimism, not the least because on the Nets will be my teammate, Andrei Kirilenko, whose advice and tips, I hope, will help me reach a new level. And indeed it is filled big-name veterans - Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Joe Johnson."

He spoke with confidence of what he can bring to the team, telling Robbins, "Maybe it's going to sound weird, being a young player, but I think I can bring Basketball IQ to the team. I can shoot the ball. I can make the teammates better."

Asked if he had spoken to Kirilenko, Karasev told both he had not. "So far, we have only exchanged a few messages. Needless to say, we are both very happy that we will be playing for the same team. I personally am looking forward to the first practice together."  He described Kirlenko as saying he's "very excited" as well.

As for moving from Cleveland to New York, he says it doesn't matter for him, considering that "most of my life passes between the house and the training room. And it's not my intention to depart from this routine."

"Generally speaking, nothing has changed for me," he added. "My objectives are the same: train hard and wait for a chance to prove my right to play in the NBA. However, now I will do it in the uniform of 'Brooklyn.'"

Karasev said he hopes to play for Team Russia in the Eurobasket Qualifying Tournament in August, but will consult the Nets before committing.