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Pacers Lose Tabak to Team in Spain

August 7, 2001

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ Zan Tabak, a backup center for the Indiana Pacers the past two seasons, signed with a team in Spain to be closer to home.

The Croatian said in June he was considering returning to Europe to provide a more stable family life for his wife and two young children.

Last season, the 7-footer averaged 3.9 points and 3.9 rebounds in 55 games, with 14 starts.

On Monday, his agent told the Pacers that Tabak had signed a one-year contract with Real Madrid.

``I was surprised,″ said Pacers president Donnie Walsh, who hopes to sign another center before training camp starts in October. ``I need a guy who’s a dirty-work guy because we’ve got a lot of talented players.″

A second-round draft pick of the Houston Rockets in 1991, Tabak played in Europe in 1985-93. He joined the Rockets for the 1994-95 season, and later played for Toronto and Boston before signing with Indiana in 1999.

The Pacers have four players on their roster who play power forward or center: Jermaine O’Neal, Jeff Foster, rookie Primoz Brezec and Bruno Sundov.

Walsh also said the Pacers no longer are considering making an offer to Golden State restricted free agent Marc Jackson, who averaged 13.2 points and 7.5 rebounds last season.

The 6-foot-10 Jackson met with Walsh last week. The Pacers were considering using part of their $4.5 million midlevel exception in pursuing Jackson, who made $320,000 last year in his first NBA season.

Training camp begins Oct. 2 at Conseco Fieldhouse, the first time in almost 20 years the team’s preseason camp will be in Indianapolis. Indiana trained in Orlando, Fla., the past three years.

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