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Deron Williams helping Nets try to recruit Kirilenko

Andrei Kirilenko

Would Andrei Kirilenko come back to the NBA to play for the veteran minimum?

It’s kind of hard to picture, but that is what the Nets are trying to convince him to do, reports Marc Stein at ESPN. And they are using Deron Williams to do the recruiting.

Sources close to the process told that Team USA guard Deron Williams, though abroad on national team duty, is part of the recruiting effort on Kirilenko, his former Utah Jazz teammate.

Not immediately clear, though, is the number of teams that are part of the race or whether Kirilenko is indeed willing to play for a minimum salary a la Antawn Jamison, who recently made that sacrifice to join the Los Angeles Lakers.

The problem is money. The Nets can only offer a veteran minimum contract at this point. Golden State is reportedly in the mix and they may have mid-level money to offer, but they are also talking to Carl Landry and they will have to make a choice. Other teams may be talking to AK-47 as well.

Kirilenko, who said he will return to the NBA, wanted to make a decision before the Olympics start. Look for something to happen quickly.