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Williams, Kirilenko return to Utah to take on the Jazz

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Sports) - Former Jazz players Deron Williams and Andrei Kirilenko are back in Utah with the Brooklyn Nets to take on their old team Wednesday night.
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Sports) - Deron Williams and Andrei Kirilenko were reunited in Brooklyn this season, and Wednesday night they will team up to try to take down the team that made them NBA All-Stars.

Williams knows the kind of reception he'll receive from Jazz fans as he makes his third trip to Salt Lake City since being traded to the Nets.

"It doesn't bother me," Williams said about the boos he will no doubt receive. "It is what it is. A lot of people blame me for coach [Jerry Sloan] stepping down. They love him and are just going to see it that way."

It has been three years since Sloan suddenly retired after an altercation with Williams in 2011. Williams says he's finally at peace with all that went down.

"It took a while," he said. "I think getting traded helped a little bit because then I was away from the situation. When it first happened, it definitely bothered me and definitely got to me."

Williams hasn't spoken with Sloan since the trade, but he was happy when the legendary Jazz coach was recently honored with a banner raised into the rafters.

"He's definitely deserving," Williams said. "He's one of the best coaches to ever do it. I had a great 5 1/2 years playing for him."

Williams knew the Jazz would eventually have to rebuild, but he is surprised that only two players remain from his tenure in Utah, Gordon Hayward and Jeremy Evans.

"I didn't think they'd go this young this quick," he said. "This is a young, young team. But they're doing a good job of rebuilding, and in a couple years they're going to be really good."

As for Kirilenko, who played ten seasons with the Jazz, Utah will always hold a special place in his heart.

"I'm still counting myself as a Jazz man a little bit," Kirilenko said. "It was a huge part of my life, and no matter what happens, they're going to stay with me for the rest of my career and the rest of my life. My kids still remember Utah and they love it here."

Kirilenko and Williams beat the Jazz in Brooklyn in November, but Williams is 0-2 against the Jazz in Salt Lake City. He'd love to end the losing streak tonight.

"We just need a win no matter who it's against," he said. "But it would definitely be good to get a win here in this building."
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