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Trail Blazers Sign Yugoslavian Point Guard Aleksander Djordjevic

September 25, 1996

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) _ Aleksandar Djordjevic, a sharpshooting point guard who helped lead Yugoslavia to a silver medal in the Olympics, has signed a contract with the Portland Trail Blazers.

``I wanted with all my heart to be here,″ Djordjevic said Tuesday.

Djordjevic, 29, said his performance in the Olympics, where he averaged 11.3 points, convinced him he could play at the NBA level.

``I like playing with those guys,″ he said. ``You will see how I play. I can do a lot of things. I think a lot during the game. I’m not here to take the ball and score and carry the team. I want to contribute, whatever it takes.″

Although terms of the contract were not disclosed, president and general manager Bob Whitsitt said the team is over its salary cap. The Oregonian reported the deal was for one year at or near the NBA minimum of $247,500.

Coach P.J. Carlesimo said Djordjevic’s outside shooting will add offensive punch to the Blazers attack.

``He has been the top player in Europe and outside the United States for quite a while,″ Carlesimo said.

Djordjevic, who is 6-foot-2, shot 53.0 percent from the field, 43.0 percent on 3-pointers and 85.0 percent from the line in the Olympics. He led Teamsystem Bologna to the Italian League championship game and was the league’s second-leading scorer, averaging 23.8 points.

He likely will play behind Kenny Anderson, who signed a seven-year, $46 million contract as a free agent during the offseason. Rod Strickland, the starting point guard last season, was traded to Washington.

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