Can Rado replace Edwards or maybe even DD as a 4-5 min/game fill-in?
From Pacer.com (or do they need look elsewhere, or not at all?)
Radojevic Eyes NBA Return
By Conrad Brunner | July 13, 2005
Not that long ago, Aleksandar Radojevic was one of the hottest prospects in basketball, a young 7-3 center with agility and shooting range who drew comparisons to Zydrunas Ilgauskas.
That's what compelled the Toronto Raptors to make him a lottery pick, No. 12 overall, in 1999. He was, in fact, the first center drafted that year.
Shortly thereafter, everything began to go wrong, primarily with his health. Now, six years later, he finds himself battling with other summer campers just to get a shot at a full-time NBA job.
"I just have to show them that I'm healthy, because I had a health issue before I left the NBA," Radojevic said. "And I have to show them that I'm fighting and I can do the parts of the job. They have big guys here. They just need a few guys to fill in while the other guys are resting, whether it's two, three, five minutes – whatever it is. I just think I need to play strong every day and make the best of it."
Radojevic went on the injured list two games into his rookie season with torn cartilage in his left knee. Then came the discovery of a herniated disc in his back that resulted in two major operations that cost him most of the rest of his rookie season and all of 2000-01. He was traded twice while injured, to Denver and then Milwaukee, but never played for either team.
Considered damaged goods by the NBA, the native of what is now Serbia-Montenegro returned to Europe to rebuild his career. A brief trial with the Utah Jazz last season gave him hope that this time, with the Pacers, he can make it stick.
"I just want to stay in the NBA," he said. "I've been to Europe and it's a different story. My wife is American and I can spend more time here. That's what I'm looking for. When I'm in Europe, we have a 9-year-old daughter who's going to school and two sons and it's hard for me to leave my wife with three kids here. So three kids here and I'm in Europe by myself. It's not easy. For her, it's terrible. I just don't want to go through that anymore."
After averaging 8.2 points and 7.9 rebounds for Prokom (Poland) in 2003-04, Radojevic opened the 2004-05 season on Utah's roster. He lasted until Jan. 5, just five days before the deadline when contracts must be guaranteed for the rest of the season. He returned to Poland and helped his team win the national championship.
The Pacers, who worked out Radojevic before the 1999 draft, kept track of his career and extended the summer league offer. He'll travel to Minneapolis for five summer-league games with the Pacers beginning Friday.
"He's showing some promise," said assistant coach Dan Burke. "He can plug up the middle on defense. Offensively, he's got a knack for making the right pass, and he can see the floor. He's just got to play more like a 7-footer, play strong inside when he posts up, and to attack more when he gets the ball.
"We were intrigued enough to keep him and bring him to Minnesota and we'll see how he does. The game's going to be fast up there because the summer league is just that way. It's a guard-dominated game. We'll see how he does with that kind of pace."
Though his health problems are in the past, Radojevic admits the surgeries took their toll on his game, but he believes he has made the requisite adjustments.
"The past four years, I haven't had any problems, (but) injuries did their job," he said. "I don't think I could be the same player as I was but I'm more experienced, certainly. I can never maybe jump as much or be as mobile as I was, but I can run the floor pretty well."
He'll get his chance to demonstrate his ability to contribute in Minneapolis.
"You're always looking for good big men," said Coach Rick Carlisle. "He has some experience and so far he's been solid. We'd like to see him be able to score a little in the post, be able to block some shots and get defensive rebounds and basically play a good complementary game relative to the team and I think he can do that."
As things turned out, the only similarities between Ilgauskas and Radojevic were health problems. Ilgauskas came back from chronic foot injuries to become an All-Star. Radojevic has his health. Now, he's just looking for a job.