Utah Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko has returned to his old Russian team CSKA Moscow on a three-year contract, but has left the door open to a return to the NBA if the lockout is resolved.
The 30-year-old expressed the desire to return to his homeland last month, saying he was searching for a club and that he'd donate everything he earns during the NBA lockout to charitable causes.
"After the 10-year American segment of his career, Andrei Kirilenko will once again wear CSKA colors," an announcement on the CSKA website said Tuesday.
Kirilenko, considered one of the best Russian players in modern times and a 2004 NBA All-Star, began his professional career at Spartak St. Peterburg as a 16-year-old, and two years later joined CSKA. His performances during the three years with the Moscow team garnered attention from the United States, and Kirilenko became a first-round draft pick for the Utah Jazz, signing in 2001.
CSKA president Andrei Vatutin told the website that the club was in principle against the acquisition of players who would bolt to the NBA in a matter of months.
"After long consideration, we decided to make an exception for Andrei. He's a special player for CSKA and Russian basketball as a whole," Batutin said.
Kirilenko, whose contract has expired with the Jazz, is one of Russia's best-paid sportsmen, earning $18 million before endorsements last season.
Players still bound by NBA contracts are allowed to play elsewhere during the lockout but are obliged to return a maximum of two days after any resolution.