Trans. Oct 6 10:26 ET (Oct 6 10:26 ET ) As of Sunday night, all I knew about Damjan Rudez is that he was a big dude who made a name for himself as a sweet-shooting forward in Europe over the past several years, and whom the Indiana Pacers signed this summer to hopefully help add some floor-spacing and shot-making to their often stagnant offense. As of Monday morning, though, I know a little bit more about the big Croatian — namely, that he's fancy. Yep, that's Rudez trying his hand at Iggy Azalea and Charli XCX's "Fancy," considered by many the song of the summer , at the Pacers' annual "FanJam" training camp festivities. Actually, "trying" might be a bit too unkind a descriptor; Rudez actually kind of kills this. (Well, in the broader context of how many of us, NBA players included, sound when ostensibly karaoke-ing hip-hop songs in public, anyway.) Not bad for a song he'd apparently only heard for the first time last week ... which, given how ubiquitous it was this summer, seems borderline impossible. Rudez's performance came as part of the "Rookie Show" portion of FanJam, which saw the Pacers' new additions — Rudez, plus undrafted free-agent signings Shayne Whittington and C.J. Fair — strut their stuff in front of about 7,500 fans on the court at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. While Rudez has been a pro in Europe since he was just a teenager, he's a rookie in the NBA sense, which means he's responsible for certain "rookie duties" — which I guess aren't covered by that memo the NBA sent last year regarding rookie hazing — including letting his stage presence shine in front of the faithful. His rapping seems to have made an impression on at least one critical observer. “He had the dance down, he had the words down, every lyric," Pacers coach Frank Vogel told Larry Hawley of Indianapolis' FOX59 . "It was a great show. It was maybe the best rookie initiation that we’ve had.” Rookies weren't the only ones put in awkward positions, though. Second-year swingman Solomon Hill and veteran forward/center Lavoy Allen found themselves having to navigate cones and make layups wearing inflatable sumo-wrestler suits: Loading style="font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px; word-wrap: break-word;">Video: The Sumo Shootout with @solohill and @chef_voy_ardee at #PacersFanJam. (Lavoy's suit may have been just a bit too small.) View on Instagram They, um, did not look so fancy. This could've gone a lot worse for Rudez, who was clearly enjoying himself as he exhorted the crowd to leave behind that Bankers Life and start living lavish. It's just a shame that the song's originator already has a ball-playing boyfriend ; then again, with Swaggy P on the injured list for a spell , this might be Rudez's chance to shine. Damo's swagger's on stupid, Iggy. I thought you knew that, knew that. Video via Scott Agness . Hat-tip to Jack Maloney at The Friendly Bounce . - - - - - - - Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YourManDevine Stay connected with Ball Don't Lie on Twitter @YahooBDL , "Like" BDL on Facebook and follow BDL's Tumblr for year-round NBA talk, jokes and more.
Paul George believes the Pacers will be a stronger title contender with Lance Stephenson - and all of his idiosyncrasies. For weeks, the Pacers have been speaking to Stephenson with a unified voice: They want him back to take one more shot at an NBA championship, something that seems much more plausible now that LeBron James' departure has broken up the Big Three Era in Miami. Everyone from Pacers president of basketball operations Larry Bird to coach Frank Vogel to backup big man Lavoy Allen has stuck to the playbook since the offseason began. When George signed a max deal just before training camp opened last year, Bird noted Stephenson was in the crowd and promised that Stephenson would be the next Pacers player to strike it rich.
The Pacers couldn't keep waiting around for Lance Stephenson to make up his mind. The two-time Eastern Conference runner-ups announced they had signed three free agents - backup big man Lavoy Allen, swingman C.J. Miles and Damjan Rudez, a sharp-shooting forward from Europe. Coach Frank Vogel hopes all that is just a precursor to re-signing Stephenson, who led the NBA with five triple-doubles last season. ''It's a waiting game until we see how some of the other dominoes fall.'' Indiana has offered Stephenson a five-year deal worth $44 million, but the shooting guard believed that he could land a more lucrative deal when some of the biggest names available in free agency - LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh - decided where to play.
The Indiana Pacers announced Friday that they signed free agents guard/forward C.J. Miles and forward Damjan Rudez, and re-signed free agent forward Lavoy Allen. Miles averaged 10.6 points and 2.4 rebounds per game over the past two seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He owns career averages of 8.4 points and 2.2 rebounds per game over nine NBA seasons. He spent the first seven years of his career with the Utah Jazz.
The Scoop:The terms of the deal are not disclosed yet, but it's likely a short-term offer. Allen did not play very often since his trade from the 76ers last season, averaging just 8.0 minutes per game in his 14 games with the Pacers. He'll just serve as emergency depth.