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Kirilenko signs with CSKA Moscow

Veteran Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko is year contract with CSKA Moscow.

The contract features an out clause, however, that will allow Kirilenko to return to the NBA as soon as the work stoppage ends.

"I am glad to be back to the team where I spent the years of adolescence. It's a pleasure to have a chance to play for Russian fans, my friends, relatives," Kirilenko said in a statement released on CSKA's website. "CSKA has a very strong team, great coach, excellent players. It's great when the highest goals are ahead of you. It's especially interesting to play under the load of responsibility. I am sure that we are able to solve any task together."

Kirilenko played for CSKA, the team formerly owned by current Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, before coming to the NBA.

"My opinion [is], you should not take the NBA player during the lockout," CSKA coach Jonas Kazlauskas said. "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 [Arvydas] Sabonis for Lithuania, Pau Gasol for Spain, [Dirk] Nowitzki for Germany."

Kirilenko was originally selected by the Jazz with the No. 24 overall pick during the 1999 NBA Draft and developed into an All-Star by 2004. Known as a stat-sheet stuffer, the versatile forward averaged 12.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.4 steals during 10 seasons in Salt Lake City.

Kirilenko averaged 11.7 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 64 games last year for the Jazz and is set to become an unrestricted free agent once the 2011-12 league year begins.