Kirilenko welcomed by fans in return to Utah
- Article by: JERRY ZGODA
- Star Tribune
- January 2, 2013 - 11:57 PM
SALT LAKE CITY - Timberwolves forward Andrei Kirilenko came back to the place he called home for 10 seasons Wednesday night, to the city and the arena where he grew into an NBA star and still owns a home.
And the Utah Jazz fans who cheered him as a hero for most of those 10 seasons inside EnergySolutions Arena now greeted the enemy with a warm, polite ovation that brought a big smile to Kirilenko's face during pregame introductions.
"A little bit," he said when asked before Utah's 106-84 victory if he was nervous. "Not nervous about the game, but a little bit unusual feeling, warm feeling, good feeling."
Kirilenko on Tuesday visited the Salt Lake City house he still owns so his wife, Masha, can visit old friends and his children can ski in the mountains. On Wednesday he chatted with arena employees whom he says he all knows by name, "every one of them."
"It looks a little bit lonely, but it's life," he said about his uninhabited home. "It's a lot of memories. It is kind of empty, something strange about it."
Kirilenko has moved on, to a new team and a new two-year, $20 million contract after he played out the huge $86 million deal he signed with Utah so long ago and left the Jazz when it finally expired in 2011.
"I mean, I had a great 10 years here," said Kirilenko, who grabbed his 4,000th career rebound in the first half Wednesday. "I grew up here as an NBA player, coming into the league 19, 20 years old, become an All-Star and get the majority of my career here. There are tons of great moments here. There is no one moment. It's part of my life here."More questions than answers
If you are confused with just what new treatment Wolves guard Brandon Roy is seeking, you're not alone.
Count Wolves coach Rick Adelman among them after Roy practiced a bit with the team on Monday and Tuesday.
"I don't know exactly what that treatment [is], and that's something we have to find out," Adelman said. "Where are we going with this? What is the procedure here? What is the rehab here? And a lot of what is going to happen with him is what kind of pain does he have in that knee?
"I think we have to figure out where we're going with this. Is it a day-to-day thing, waiting to see if he can go, if he feels good enough? I don't know exactly what he's doing. I don't know how much pain he has in his knee. That's not something I know about; he'll have to tell us."Moving on?
Al Jefferson knows a little something about signing a big contract. He did so with the Wolves in 2007, when he signed a five-year, $65 million deal that his agent urged him to refuse.
So when asked about former teammate Kevin Love's continued unhappiness -- as expressed to Yahoo! Sports last month -- with a four-year, $61 million-plus deal he signed last year, he had his own take on the matter.
"To me, he accepted the deal, he signed the deal, move on from it," said Jefferson, who shares the same agent with Love. "It was his decision to sign the deal. You don't want the deal, you don't take the deal."Etc.
• Jazz guard Mo Williams will undergo thumb surgery Friday and is out for at least six weeks. He was replaced in Wednesday's starting lineup by veteran Jamaal Tinsley. Williams injured his thumb in a Dec. 22 game against Miami and has not played since.
• Adelman, when asked about Lazar Hayward's visits to see a spiritual medium who Hayward told reporters on Monday has guided him to see the spirit of a dead person: "I saw that article, so we might call on him for some help."
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