Pacers trade Damjan Rudež to Timberwolves for Chase Budinger

The Pacers continue to re-tool their roster.

The Pacers gave Rudež, a native of Croatia, his first chance in the NBA.

Damjan Rudež has been informed that he is being traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves, a source told VigilantSports.com.

In exchange, the Pacers will receive forward Chase Budinger, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports.

Budinger, who’s entering his seventh season as a pro, averaged 6.8 points and 3.0 rebounds per game last season in Minnesota. The 27-year-old spent his first three seasons in Houston. He is under contract for one more year, and $5 million.

The Pacers made the trade official on Sunday.

“We’re very glad to have Chase,” Pacers President Larry Bird said in a statement. “He’s a guy we think will fit in our rotation. He can shoot and drive to the basket, which works with how we want to play.

Over his six-year career, Budinger has shot 36.4 percent from 3-point range whereas Rudež connected on 40.6 percent of his tries last season.

“Damjan was a special guy,” Bird added. “He was great to have as part of our team. He will be missed by all.”

The Pacers, specifically Director of International Scouting Pete Philo, had been tracking Rudež’s progress overseas for years. In need of shooting, they brought him over last July on a three-year deal with very little risk.

See Also: Rookie Rudež steals the show at Pacers FanJam

It took Rudež a few months to get acclimated to the game, its faster pace, and the longer 3-point line. But come February, he was hitting nearly 50 percent of his attempts from deep. Appearing in 68 games, Rudež averaged 4.8 points and shot 45 percent from the field.

Rudež has two years remaining on his deal, the latter being a team option. He is due $1.15 million for this upcoming season.

Already this summer, the Pacers have agreed to re-sign Rodney Stuckey and Lavoy Allen — and they plan to sign Monta Ellis and Jordan Hill. Roy Hibbert was traded to the Lakers for a future second-round pick and David West opted out to sign with a title contender: San Antonio.

Speaking on Saturday before the trade was completed, team leader Paul George said he was happy with the direction of the team, despite losing two big pieces in West and Hibbert.

“I didn’t know it was going to be a drastic roster change but I knew that was the direction this team needed to go to give ourselves a better chance of winning,” he said.

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