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Peja Stojakovic Gives Verbal Commitment to Dallas

It appears that the Dallas Mavericks will get their man.  According to ESPN's Marc Stein, the Toronto Raptors followed through and bought out Peja Stojakovic's $15 million contract and the forward has given a verbal commitment to the Mavericks once he clears waivers which should occur early next week.

Reports indicated that he wanted to head back to the Western Conference and playing with a contender.  The New Orleans Hornets and the Los Angeles Lakers were in the mix but the Mavericks emerged as the winner.  It is highly unlikely that a team will take a stab at the forward and take on the rest of Stojakovic's remaining salary for the season.  

As we speculated, a roster move would need to be made to facilitate bring the forward in.  According the Marc Stein, the Mavericks are Raptors are working on a secondary deal to send Alexis Ajinca to the Raptors along with cash considerations and a 2013 second-round pick that Toronto had sent to Dallas in last year's draft. In return, Dallas will receive the rights to 2007 second-round pick Georgios Printezis (who plays in Spain and is no longer considered an NBA prospect) and create a salary-cap exception equal to Ajinca's $1.5 million salary.

Printezis has averaged 5.4 points on 42.4% shooting (12.5% from three-point range) in 12 minutes of action for Unicaja Málaga. 

He also noted that sources told that the Mavericks secured permission from Toronto last week to speak to Stojakovic's agent, David Bauman, in order to see if the sharpshooter would have interest in playing in Dallas after his eventual buyout, which had been anticipated since November.

Friday Update: Stein also reports that teams around the league are suggesting foul play with the Mavericks/Raptors deal so the league is doing their due diligence and is reviewing the specifics of suggested trade.  Despite the setback, both teams are confident that the trade will go through.  The Mavericks have received multiple offers from the Raptors in regards to Ajinca but initially rejected the offers.  With Caron Butler's season-ending injury, the Mavericks would like to keep Pavlović on the roster.  The Mavericks are trying to do right by Ajinca's agent as they have pursued trading him away once he became a Maverick.  They want to make sure they do everything they can to make sure Ajinca has a team and does not lose out from a financial standpoint.  One way or another, the situation will be resolved and Stojakovic will find his way on the Mavericks roster early next week.  

The Mavericks have been looking for different options at the small forward position due to Caron Butler's season-ending injury.  They have given Sasha Pavlović a second 10-day contract and they will now have Stojakovic.  Both players will provide the Mavericks with additional shooting weapons, Pavlović will give the team a little bit more in terms of an all-around game as he has shown some defensive prowess with his stint with the Mavericks.

The reason why the Mavericks would be interested in Stojakovic, he has a career percentage of 40.1 from three-point range.  In limited minutes this year due to injury, Stojakovic has shot 48% from three-point range.  Also, the shooter is 5th on the all-time three-pointers made list with 1,718 (Jason Kidd is 3rd at 1,729 and Jason Terry is 8th at 1,580).  A pessimist could have seen the New Orleans Hornets emerge as a team that could get in the way of the forward coming to Dallas.  His family still lives there and they have the same financial weapons as the Mavericks do in an attempt to get the former three-time All Star.


Stojakovic has been dealing with knee injuries this year but he clearly left a mark on the Mavericks as the 33-year-old appeared in only two games with Toronto after the Nov. 20 trade, but Stojakovic did  score 17 points in 19 minutes in Dallas on Nov. 15, just days before New Orleans sent the Stojakovic and Jerryd Bayless to Toronto.  If Stojakovic can get on the floor and stay there, the Mavericks will have one of the great pure shooters in the league and provide them with an additional spot-up threat on the wing.

With Pavlović and Stojakovic, the small forward position is gaining stability after losing Butler and it might allow the Mavericks to continue working Shawn Marion and Jason Terry off of the bench.  The team loves the versatility they can bring off the bench and the results were there as they combined for 44 points (22 each) in the game against the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night.

Another huge point of emphasis with the stability at the 3, that insures that Dallas will not be taking a major financial risk to bring in someone like Stephen Jackson or other mentioned players. They are now in a good position to look for trades involving positions other than small forward.  They can still obviously pursue those kinds of players with Butler's expiring contract, they just won't be as desperate to search for a small forward. 

Shooters are a rare commodity so the value is there with Stojakovic.  The amount of minutes he will play will likely stay on the lower end of the spectrum.  Either way, the Mavericks will have another option.  They essentially flipped Steve Novak and Alexis Ajinca for Sasha Pavlović and Peja Stojakovic.


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