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Fucka plays for Skipper Bologna in Italy

Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS -- Gregor Fucka, considered one of the top European players, is ready to say "Ciao'' to the Italian League and wants to sign a deal with the Indiana Pacers.

Luciano Capicchioni, Fucka's agent, said he's looking for a three-year deal that would bring the 31-year-old naturalized Italian citizen to the NBA and, perhaps, the Pacers.

"Out of any team in the NBA, Indiana would be the best,'' Capicchioni said. "It would be a great solution for him.''

Fucka, a 7-foot-1 forward, has played for Skipper Bologna in Italy since 1997, averaging 18.1 points last year. Fucka is still under contract, but Capicchioni said there is an escape clause.

"That's his wish. He wants to be there,'' Capicchioni said Thursday from his office in San Marino, located in a mountainous enclave of northeast Italy. "He'd rather go to the NBA.''

Pacers president Donnie Walsh said he had talked with Capicchioni and was interested in Fucka but wasn't sure how he would create room on the roster.

The Pacers' payroll is almost $53 million but nearly the entire team, barring a trade, is under contract for next season. Reserves Kevin Ollie and Bruno Sundov are the only free agents.

"It would be very conditional if we could pursue him,'' Walsh said. "It's not the payroll as much as it is we have 13 players and our own free agents. We may not have room.''

Capicchioni compared Fucka to Pau Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies, this year's NBA's Rookie of the Year. Gasol became the first European to win the honor. He was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2001 NBA draft.

"Fucka has more European experience and is much more of a well-known player in Europe,'' Capicchioni said. "Fucka will do just as well as Gasol did. He has more experience. He will be an asset to Indiana.''

This isn't the first time Fucka has talked with an NBA team. Capicchioni said Fucka rejected a potential deal with the Los Angeles Clippers last year.

"They were ready to sign him, but Fucka didn't sign the deal,'' he said. "He had an incredible offer from Europe and he couldn't turn that down. He decided to stay here. Now it's time for him to go.''

Rookies, free agents and a few veterans are playing in the Pacers' summer league team in Florida. Capicchioni said he didn't expect Fucka to work out for any team in the United States.

"He doesn't have to,'' he said. "They know him. The scouts know him very well.

"They're basically getting a star, not a potential star. I would say you're getting something more secure. He's still very physically young.''

The Pacers have one foreign player, Slovenia's Primoz Brezec, their 2000 first-round pick, on the roster. Sundov, who played with the Pacers the last two years, is from Croatia.

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