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Jazz: Kirilenko makes return to Utah in new uniform

Kirilenko left Jazz with mixed legacy, but he isre-energized with T-wolves.

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It was the start of an unhappy trend for Kirilenko, who missed 113 games over his final six seasons with the Jazz. That’s nearly one out of every four.

Given the uncertainty caused by the lockout, the makeup of the roster and the salary cap flexibility Utah gained when Kirilenko’s contract expired in 2011, neither side seemed interested in extending the relationship.

At a glance

Andrei Kirilenko file

» Played in his only All-Star Game in 2003-04.

» Led the league in blocked shots in 2004-05.

» In 45 playoffs games, averaged 10.1 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists.

Timberwolves at Jazz

O Wednesday, 7 p.m.


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"There was not so much talk with Utah," Kirilenko said. "It was the lockout and they had other guys at forward position, so it was just better to go to Russia. But I had a great time in Utah. For 10 years, it was a great experience."

A year later, Kirilenko sorted through a handful of offers from NBA teams before deciding to return with the Timberwolves.

"I had a lot of the same feelings here that I had in Utah," he explained. "I feel good with the team when I watched and there are a lot of European players here. ... A lot of things just came together."

Kirilenko also liked like the idea of moving his family to Minnesota.

"The skiing, it’s not as good as Utah — not as much, you know?" he said. "But there is a lot of hockey, and you know us Russians. We like hockey."

From experience, Korver knows Kirilenko is excited to face his former team.

"You definitely want to play well," he said. "It’s hard [emotionally]. You want to treat it like a regular game. But then you see all these faces that you used to say ‘hi’ to every day — people you had relationships with."

Columnist Kurt Kragthorpe contributed to this story.

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A closer look

Kirilenko’s averages during his 10 seasons with the Jazz:

Season G Min Pts Reb Ast Stl Blk

2001-02 82 26.2 10.7 4.9 1.1 1.41 1.94

2002-03 80 27.7 12.0 5.3 1.7 1.48 2.19

2003-04 78 37.1 16.5 8.1 3.1 1.92 2.76

2004-05 41 32.9 15.6 6.2 3.2 1.63 3.32

2005-06 69 37.7 15.3 8.0 4.3 1.48 3.19

2006-07 70 29.3 8.3 4.7 2.9 1.06 2.06

2007-08 72 30.8 11.0 4.7 4.0 1.19 1.51

2008-09 67 27.3 11.6 4.8 2.6 1.24 1.15

2009-10 58 29.0 11.9 4.6 2.7 1.43 1.22

2010-11 64 31.2 11.7 5.1 3.0 1.27 1.16

Timberwolvesat Jazz

O Wednesday, 7 p.m.


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Season series » First matchup

About the Jazz » Forward Marvin Williams is expected to play after sitting out the Jazz’s 107-96 loss to the Clippers on Sunday in Los Angeles. ... The Jazz have lost three consecutive games at home. ... Al Jefferson leads the Jazz with 17 points and 10 rebounds per game.

About the Timberwolves » Former Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko averages 13.3 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. ... Minnesota ranks second in the NBA with 46 rebounds per game. ... Point guard Ricky Rubio has played in only five games. He will not travel with the team on its two-game trip to Utah and Denver because of back spasms.

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