So when is this Gregor Fucka -- it's FOOCH-ka, you juveniles -- coming to Indianapolis?
According to Italian media reports, Fucka, one of Europe's top players for years, is very close to signing a three-year deal with Your Indiana Pacers.
According to Pacers president Donnie Walsh, there has been contact between the team and Fucka's representatives, but all that talk (in Italian, of course) is "waaay premature." Walsh is quick to add that if Fucka does come to Indiana, "I want all the rights on the T-shirts."
Fucka's Italy-based agent, Luciano Capicchioni, says he has been misquoted by the Italian media as saying there's a 90 percent chance of Fucka coming to Indiana and the reported three-year, $7 million contract number is a complete fabrication that is fabulously wrong on the low side.
"There's probably a 90 percent chance, or a little less, that he'll come to the NBA," Capicchioni said. "I know he would prefer to go to Indiana because he knows the most people there. But Toronto is involved, too, and we're still talking to his team here (in Bologna, Italy). Is there a 90 percent chance he would go to Indiana if he comes over? The problem with Indiana is how they would make cap room for him and not have to pay the luxury tax."
So is Fucka coming? Put it this way: There aren't a lot of reasons to fully believe anybody involved here.
In fact, this time of year, there's no reason to believe much of what you hear on the NBA grapevine. We are just days away from July 16, when teams can start making trades and signing free agents, so the rumors, some more bizarre than others, are everywhere.
Who to trust here?
Well, first, there's the Italian media, who broke this story. With all due respect to my Italian friends, their general reputation is scurrilous even by journalistic standards. They make us American dopes look like Woodward and Bernstein. There is obviously a scintilla of truth to all this -- the Pacers are interested and Fucka is considering a jump to the NBA -- but to suggest this is close to a done deal is ludicrous.
Then there's Walsh, who is probably the most accomplished executive in the league when it comes to dancing around the truth without actually lying. Even if he's got the hots for Fucka, what sense does it make to show his cards now? All that does is raise the stakes, alert the competition and tell other NBA clubs Walsh is desperate to dump salary to make room for Fucka.
Then there's Capicchioni, who, as a player agent, is also well-schooled in the art of fudging. (It's one of the required courses in that major.) He has to do what's best for his client, and that means keeping the doors open to Fucka's current team -- his NBA escape clause has been extended past July 15 to give Bologna more time to pay up -- and playing hard-to-get for any new suitors.
This much we know: It's an intriguing possibility. Fucka isn't some Brezec-ian project. He's an experienced 7-footer who can play both forward positions and score inside or outside. He was named Europe's top player in 2000, an award that has been given to Arvydas Sabonis, Drazen Petrovic and Toni Kukoc. "If he comes over, he would be like (Pau) Gasol," Capicchioni said. "Maybe better, because he has more experience."
It points up an issue that will become more pronounced as the season closes in: This is the last season of Reggie Miller's contract, and at some point, Uncle Reg has to decide if he wants to stay here and try to win a ring, or move somewhere else (like L.A.).
"(Fucka's) the real thing," said Charlie Bell, who is playing for Indiana's summer team in Orlando. His Italian League team beat Fucka's Skipper Bologna for the league title. "He's a Kukoc-type of player, and he's ambidextrous; he can move either way and finish with both hands. He's one of those guys, he'd score 20 on us and we wouldn't even know it."
If he's so good, why hasn't he been in the NBA all along? Simple. He's been making great money in Italy while playing just one or two games a week. What's the rush to come here and endure back-to-backs against Sacramento and Phoenix?
Now, though, his Italian agent is saying Fucka is ready to leave the nest at age 31 and try this "new adventure."
Does that adventure begin in Indy?
Let's just say that after long hours of calculation, it's been determined there's a 51.863 percent chance of him becoming a Pacer next season.
At the very least, we're loving the speculation. It's not often you can type the word Fucka and get away with it.
“And each and every one of you, when you see me, you will not put your eyes directly on me-- you will look to the ground and you will refer to me as 'Lord Master.'”
Kevin Nash, January 17, 2000
Two-Time, Two-Time Randomly Selected Weiner of the Day, 5/27/02 and 7/3/02
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