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Coach Denies Yugoslav Will Join Celtics : But Lakers' Pick Will Be Permitted to Play in NBA

June 29, 1989|From Associated Press

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia — Dino Radja, a center on Yugoslavia's national basketball team who was drafted by the Boston Celtics on Tuesday, will not be allowed to join the NBA, his Yugoslav coach said today. But newspaper reports said Yugoslav center Vlade Divac, picked by the Lakers in the first round of the draft, will be permitted to sign with the club.

Radja's coach, Bozidar Maljkovic, said, "We are not going to give him the permission to go."

Even though the Yugoslav sports federation does not have a policy that would prevent Radja from signing with Boston, officials of his team, Jugoplastika, claim that he is bound by a contract that expires in 1992.

'Must Respect Contracts'

"The NBA must respect contracts between players and their clubs," Jugoplastika's manager, Josip Bilic, said. "We have no intention of selling our players in America."

Radja is vacationing in Italy and was not available for comment. Last week, during the European Basketball Championships in Zagreb, he told the Associated Press that he would join an NBA team if "the financial offer is good" and that Jugoplastika cannot prevent him from joining the NBA.

Radja, 22, was the backbone of the Jugoplastika that captured the European Champions Cup earlier this year. He and Divac were also the centers on the Yugoslav national team that lost 76-63 to the Soviet Union in the gold medal game at the Seoul Olympics and won the European crown last week.

Divac, 21, told the Borba newspaper that his "dreams of joining the team for which basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played have come true."

"I will be playing with Magic Johnson. That's fantastic," Divac was quoted as saying.

His Yugoslav team, Partizan Belgrade, will allow Divac to sign with the Lakers, the Vecernje Novosti newspaper said.

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