Bulls' Kukoc released from Italian contract

June 11, 1993|By Chicago Tribune

PHOENIX -- General manager Jerry Krause confirmed yesterday that Toni Kukoc has been released from his contract with Benetton Treviso of the Italian League and is free to negotiate with the Chicago Bulls.

"It happened a little faster than I thought," Krause said. "It means there's certainly a stronger possibility he'll play for us. As we go toward the draft, the way I look at it, we were just awarded a high lottery pick. He definitely wants to play for us."

Kukoc, a 6-foot-10 guard who is considered the top player in Europe, left Chicago on Wednesday after his tonsils were removed and the Bulls' staff evaluated him. He returned to Europe to attend the funeral of fellow Croatian Drazen Petrovic, who died Monday in an auto accident.

"Toni has expressed a desire that as soon as we come to an agreement, he wants to work with [strength coach] Al Vermeil this summer," Krause said, adding that Kukoc would work specifically on strengthening an ankle injured two years ago and not properly rehabilitated.

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