MINNEAPOLIS Andrei Kirilenko returned to the NBA on Friday night against the Kings.
If things had worked out differently, the Kings would have been happy to see him do that last season in a Sacramento uniform.
The Kings pursued the former All-Star last season, hoping he could fill their longtime void at small forward.
Kirilenko opted to play for Russian powerhouse CSKA Moscow and then for Russia in the Summer Olympics in London.
He signed with Minnesota during the offseason and started against the Kings, collecting 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists in the Timberwolves' 92-80 victory.
Kirilenko said it made "no sense" to revisit whether he was close to becoming a King. It's the same approach he has taken to discussing if he came close to signing with the Brooklyn Nets, who are owned by Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov.
"My agent was dealing with it, and I was trying to stay out the way because that gets in your mind and starts playing with your brain," Kirilenko said. "I think there was a lot of interest, but I tried to stay away from it."
Kirilenko said that when the NBA lockout ended last Dec. 8, he saw no reason to return because he was in the middle of his season with CSKA and the Olympics were approaching.
Kirilenko does not regret his decision.
"I got to play in front of my Russian friends, family and fans because they'd never seen me play since I joined the NBA," Kirilenko said. "They'd only seen me on TV."
Back and watching Swingman John Salmons did not play in his first game back with the Kings.
Salmons hasn't played in a game since Sacramento's preseason opener Oct. 10. He left the team for the birth of his third child, but complications kept Salmons away until Thursday, when he met the team in Minneapolis.
Another home opener Tonight's game against the Indiana Pacers will be the third time in three games that the Kings play a team in its home opener.
The first two games, at Chicago on Wednesday and at Minnesota on Friday, also were the opponent's season opener.
The Pacers opened the season with two road games.