SALT LAKE CITY -- Former Jazzman Andrei Kirilenko spent the lockout-shortened 2011-12 NBA season playing professionally in Russia but always wanted to return to the league.
"During the lockout I spent (time) in Russia preparing for the Olympic games and we had a great season there," he said Wednesday morning. "I always (thought) I had to go back to the NBA because the level of the game is way different."
Now a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Kirilenko returned to EnergySolutions Arena on Wednesday.
He received a warm welcome when introduced before the game and went on to score 12 points to go along with seven rebounds, two assists and two blocked shots in a 22-point loss to the Jazz.
Asked if he considered returning to Utah last summer as a free agent, Kirilenko said it just wasn't a good fit.
"The Jazz really have the small forward position filled out," he said. "It's all about the role on the team. It's pretty tough when you've got three or four guys at the same time at the same position. Game time is going to effect you and you don't want to be in a situation where your game time is going to be effected. You want to play."
Kirilenko spent 10 season with the Jazz and played in more than 600 regular-season games. He made the Western Conference All-Star team in 2004.
He said he'd like his legacy with the Jazz to include the fact he was a good person, not just a good player.
"I've always been a fan of being remembered as a good person, not just a good player," he said. "I think if the people remember you as a good personality I think it goes a long way rather than being a good player but, you know, a jackass or whatever."
Jazz 106, T-wolves 84
* BEST PLAY: Using a classic playground move, Jazz point guard Jamaal Tinsley bounces an in-bounds pass off the back of Minnesota's Nicola Pekovic, retrieves it and goes in for a layup to give the Jazz a 13-10 lead in the first quarter.
* WILLIAMS SIDELINED: The Jazz announced Wednesday point guard Mo Williams will undergo surgery on his sprained right thumb.
The surgery will take place Friday in New York and Williams, 30, will be in a splint for approximately six weeks. He will then be re-evaluated.
Williams suffered the injury Dec. 22 in a loss at Miami.
* SIDELINE MOMENT: After getting into a little tussle with Minnesota's Greg Stiemsma, Enes Kanter was pulled aside by Jazz assistant coach Jeff Hornacek during a timeout. Hornacek did all the talking, clearly advising Kanter how to better control himself on the court. Kanter never stopped nodding his head.
* INJURY REPORT: The Jazz forward Marvin Williams (right knee inflammation) missed Sunday's loss to the L.A. Clippers but returned to action Wednesday. ... Minnesota went without Chase Buddinger (left knee), Malcolm Lee (right knee), Brando Roy (right knee) and Ricky Rubio (back).
* TIED TOGETHER: Jazz assistant coach Sidney Lowe played for the T-Wolves and later became their head coach during the 1992-93 season and coached them until the end of the 1993-94 season. ... Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin was an original member of the T-Wolves. ... Al Jefferson and Randy Foye are former T-Wolves. ... Kirilenko and T-Wolves forward Lou Amundson were teammates with the Jazz during the 2006-07 season. ...
* UP NEXT: The Jazz will play at Phoenix on Friday and in Denver on Saturday. Their next home game will be Monday vs. Dallas.