Pacers land European guard sought by Bird
By Mike Wells
Indiana Pacers president Larry Bird will get the player he's been coveting, after all.
Lithuanian guard Sarunas Jasikevicius agreed Sunday night to a three-year contract reportedly worth $12 million with the Pacers.
Jasikevicius, who played college basketball at Maryland, chose the Pacers over Utah and Cleveland.
"It boiled down to the opportunity to win a championship," Jasikevicius' agent, Doug Neustadt, said Sunday night.
"He has great respect for the organization and the people involved in it. He feels this team is very deep and talented."
The 29-year-old Jasikevicius averaged about 15 points and six assists in leading Maccabi Tel Aviv to its second straight Euroleague title last season. He scored 28 points in Lithuania's victory over the United States in last summer's Olympics in Athens, Greece.
Jasikevicius gives the Pacers another player they can turn to at point guard in case starter Jamaal Tinsley, who has battled injures the past few seasons, can't stay healthy. The Pacers also have Anthony Johnson and Eddie Gill under contract next season.
By agreeing to terms with Jasikevicius, the Pacers may have hurt their chances to re-sign center Dale Davis.
The Pacers only have the midlevel exception, which is expected to be around $5 million a season, and the $1 million exception, with the value actually being $1.6 million a season, available.
Seattle, New Jersey, Cleveland and Philadelphia also have expressed interest in Davis.
The Pacers also want to re-sign James Jones.
After all the Saras deals I had read about I was glad to see the Star confirm the Pacers had him.
Interestingly Saras picked the Pacers because they are a leading contender rather than another team where he could start and get more money. Now it appears we will see if Dale is about winning or the money.
Personally I think he'll take the money.