CSKA Moscow is looking for a replacement for Andrei Kirilenko after the former Utah Jazz forward declared his intention to return to the NBA, CSKA president Andrei Vatutin told R-Sport on Tuesday.
Kirilenko returned to his native Russia with CSKA during last season’s lockout and stayed until the end of the season, before announcing his plans to return to the United States on Tuesday.
He is a target for the Brooklyn Nets, owned by Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, the Nets’ general manager Billy King told local radio Saturday.
“It won’t be enough but obviously we’re seeking a replacement,” Vatutin said, adding that the team had been prepared for Kirilenko’s announcement.
“We spoke every day for the last two months. I know that this decision wasn’t easy for him,” he said.
“There was more than one sleepless night, both for him and for me. I want to thank Andrei for his season at CSKA. I had a dream that Kirilenko would play for CSKA and it came true.”
Kirilenko, 31, became the youngest player in Russian Super League history when he debuted for Spartak St. Petersburg in 1997 aged 16, before moving to CSKA in 1998.
Kirilenko spent 10 seasons with the Jazz, becoming an NBA All-Star in 2004.
He is under contract with CSKA till October 2014.
On Russia's roster since 2000, Kirilenko won the 2007 Eurobasket with his country and was the part of the team that finished third at the 2011 tournament.