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F.Y.R. of Macedonia v Russia
Andrey KIRILENKO (Russia). F.Y.R. of Macedonia v Russia. 2011 EuroBasket, Classification Game for 3rd to 4th Place. 18 September 2011
RUS - CSKA bring back Kirilenko

MOSCOW (Euroleague) - The NBA season may be in doubt because of the lockout that has been in effect since the beginning of July, but that's not keeping some players off the court.

Deron Williams is playing for Besiktas in Turkey and now his former Utah Jazz teammate, Andrei Kirilenko of Russia, has signed a three-year contract with CSKA Moscow with an NBA return option.

The Russian giants announced the 30-year-old's capture on Tuesday morning.

Coach Jonas Kazlauskas had the final say of the return of Kirilenko to the club he played for before moving to the NBA in 2001.

"My opinion," Kazlauskas said in a club announcement, "you should not take the NBA player during the lockout.

"If they can leave you, you don't know what to expect.

"And only the weak teams can take this kind of step.

"At the same time, every rule has its exception, and Kirilenko is the exception.

"Andrei is the star of Russian and world basketball, he means for his country as much as Sabonis for Lithuania, Pau Gasol for Spain, Nowitzki for Germany."

Owners and  players' union representatives are due to hold talks on Tuesday in New York aimed at ending the labor dispute.

The lockout started following the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement.

Virtus Bologna are thought to be closing in on a deal to bring Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant to the club but only for 10 games because the team can't afford to sign him for any longer.

Kirilenko, who made the all-tournament team at the EuroBasket as his national side won bronze and sealed a place in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament, said in the CSKA announcement that all of his earnings in Russia will go to his charity foundation.

"The (Kirilenko Kids) foundation will help the children hospitals and charity-schools, sport schools, sport veterans and the basketball players who became the disabled persons," he said.

Andrei Vatutin, the CSKA Moscow president, says the signing of Kirilenko is a win-win situation for everyone.

"We understand perfectly all the risks of his possible departure but we knowingly take them," Vatutin said.

"In my opinion there are no minuses in inviting Andrei.

"Even if he leaves the team in a month or two - depending on his desire - Kirilenko will play several games, and his participation will add to the interest toward our team.

"I am sure that most of the fans as well as me are anxious to see Kirilenko in CSKA uniform. If the lockout finishes, and Andrei decides not to chase NBA contract, our perspectives become even better."

CSKA will play in the Russian PBL, the VTB United League and the Turkish Airlines Euroleague.


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