Hawks officially sign forward/center Antic

The Hawks announced the signing of forward/center Pero Antic Thursday.

The 6-foot-11 Antic played for Olympiacos in the Greek Basketball League and the Euroleague the past two seasons. He helped the team to back-to-back Euroleague titles.

“After the two Euroleague championships, I needed a new challenge,” Antic told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Thursday. “When Coach Mike (Budenholzer) called I didn’t even think about the bigger opportunities I had in Europe. I just immediately told him it would be an honor to be here and I will do my best.

“I’m not saying that I will come and we’ll win a championship but I’m going to do my best that I can - score, rebound, play defense, whatever, just to be a part of the team and help the team win so everybody will be happy.”

Antic (pronounced An Titch) said he had an opportunity to sign with the Magic in 2008 but couldn’t pass up the financial offer of a team from Russia. Now, he wants a chance to prove himself against the best.

“This time, for myself, I don’t want to say that I had a chance but didn’t go (to the NBA),” Antic said. “This is for myself, for a bigger challenge, and this is the biggest challenge you can get.”

Antic said he sees himself as a power forward who can spread the floor with his ability to shoot and who will get rebounds. He added that he will play center if that is what the Hawks need him to do.

“Pero is a skilled and versatile big man who will add depth to our frontcourt,” general manager Danny Ferry said in a statement. “He will fit in well with what we’re building and we’re excited to add him to the team.”

Last year, Antic averaged 6.2 points and 3.3 rebounds in 15.2 minutes.

Antic’s agent announced Wednesday that the player had reached a two-year agreement with the Hawks. Antic needed to pass a physical and work out final details before making the signing official.

Antic, a native of present-day Macedonia, has played professionally since 1999 in his home country, Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria and Russia. The captain of the Macedonia National team will return overseas for the European Championships. He intends to return to Atlanta immediately following the tournament.

“The more time I have with the (Hawks) the better the adjustment,” Antic said.