Eastern Notes: Kirilenko, Henderson, Oden, Heat

When he turned down his $10MM+ player option with the Timberwolves, Andrei Kirilenko wasn't necessarily expecting to match that annual salary on a long-term deal, but he was seeking a three-year contract worth $8MM+ per season, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. As Wojnarowski writes, that's why Kirilenko's decision to accept the Nets' $3.18MM mini mid-level exception is raising eyebrows around the NBA. Rival teams are suggesting the league look into the deal to make sure Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov isn't somehow circumventing the league's CBA.

"There should be a probe," an Eastern Conference general manager said. "How obvious is it?"

"Let's see if the league has any credibility," one team owner said. "It's not about stopping it. It's about punishing them if they're doing it."

As we wait to see if the NBA looks into the Nets' agreement with Kirilenko, let's check in on a few more notes from around the Eastern Conference….

  • While the Bobcats are wary of overpaying Gerald Henderson, there's no doubt the team wants to bring him back, writes Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer. Bonnell adds in a tweet that the team talked to Henderson's reps today and there was a "positive tone."
  • Bonnell says in another tweet that even though Greg Oden's agent, Mike Conley Sr., continues to list the Bobcats among potential destinations for his client, center is no longer an area of need for the team.
  • Conley's comments to Chris Tomasson of FOX Sports Florida suggest that Miami remains atop Oden's wish list anyway, and Heat president Pat Riley confirmed today the team remains interested, according to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel (via Twitter).
  • Riley also told reporters, including Winderman (Twitter links), that the Heat don't plan to use their amnesty provision this week and that it's also becoming less likely that the team's mini MLE gets used. However, Riley didn't shut the door on either option.
  • Chris Smith, J.R. Smith's younger brother, is hoping to earn a spot on the Knicks' opening night roster, but acknowledges to Marc Berman of the New York Post that he'll have to prove he belongs.
  • Tom Ziller of SBNation.com examines how much value is attached to the option to swap draft picks with a trading partner, with a focus on today's completed Nets/Celtics deal.
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