On Wednesday the Brooklyn Nets made a trade with the Philadelphia 76ers, sending Andrei Kirilenko to the struggling Sixers along with guard Jorge Gutierrez, a 2020 second round pick and the right to swap 2018 second round picks. For the Kirilenko trade, the Nets received Brandon Davies, a young 6’10” power forward, creating a $3.4 million trade exception and an additional $916,000 trade exception with the move. Moving AK-47 may seem surprising to casual NBA fans, but it’s more of a statement of the Nets’ strategy than it is of Kirilenko’s skill.
Davies has spent the last two seasons with the 76ers, appearing in 51 games and averaging 2.8 points per game. He has already seen 20 games this season, averaging 6.3 points and 3.7 rebounds during that time. The 76ers signed him as an undrafted free agent following the 2013 NBA draft.
Kirilenko, meanwhile, could not find a role in the rotation of new Nets coach Lionel Hollins. He was signed to a relatively inexpensive 2-year $6.2 million deal, but the Kirilenko trade was a nice move by the Nets to clear up millions that would have been otherwise wasted on a bench player.
Kirilenko’s contract is irrelevant for the 76ers, as Philadelphia is still $15 million away from meeting the minimum team salary floor that they have to pay either way. Kirilenko coming in may have been unnecessary though, as current small forward K.J. McDaniels has done a solid job of manning the starting position this year, averaging 10.1 points, and 4.0 rebounds per game.
The Sixers will most likely waive Kirilenko. Assuming his personal problems that required him to take leave from the Nets this season are resolved, he could sign with another team. Meanwhile, Gutierrez has proven to be a valuable third-string point guard behind Deron Williams and Jarrett Jack and should grab more minutes in Philadelphia.