SALT LAKE CITY, Sept. 21 (UPI) -- Forward Andrei Kirilenko could be leaving the NBA’s Utah Jazz to return home to Russia next season.
The Deseret News reported Friday the 6-foot-9 Kirilenko is scheduled to make about $63 million in a contract that runs through the 2010-11 season.
"I want to do what I enjoy doing, and I think the emotions that I experienced with the national side are worth going back to Russia and playing there for Russian supporters," Kirilenko, Utah’s highest-paid player, told the Sports Express newspaper in Russia.
His feelings were fueled recently by leading his home country to the European championship.
In his NBA career, Kirilenko, a first-round pick by the Jazz in the 1999 NBA draft, has averages of 12.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.5 blocked shots in 420 games.
Kevin O'Connor, vice president of basketball operations for the Jazz, told the newspaper he expects Kirilenko to be at training camp, which begins Oct. 1.