DALLAS (AP) - Peja Stojakovic used to pile up points against the Dallas Mavericks. Now they’re eager to see what he can do for them.
Dallas signed Stojakovic off waivers on Monday in a bid to replace some of the scoring punch lost when Caron Butler went down with a season-ending injury.
Although Stojakovic has averaged 17.2 points per game over his career, and 19.2 per game against Dallas, the Mavericks realize that’s not the guy they are getting.
This is the fourth straight season his average has dropped. He’s also played only eight games because of knee injuries, the last on Nov. 26. Dallas is even his third stop; he started with New Orleans and was dealt to Toronto, then was waived on Thursday.
The Mavs don’t even know when the 33-year-old Stojakovic will suit up.
“We’re taking it slow,” team president Donnie Nelson said. “Depends on him getting into game shape.”
Dallas was off to a tremendous start this season until Dirk Nowitzki got hurt, then Butler was lost. Nowitzki is back in the lineup but clearly still not at full strength. The Mavs are in a 4-10 rut heading into a four-game homestand that opens Tuesday night against the Clippers.
Stojakovic did most of his damage against Dallas during his heyday with the Sacramento Kings. They were frequent playoff foes with the Mavericks. That’s what team owner Mark Cuban had in mind when he tweeted: “Peja is now a Mav ! Time to let him drop some of those 3s on the bad guys”
To clear a roster spot, the Mavericks traded fourth-string center Alexis Ajinca to Toronto for the rights to Georgios Printezis, who is playing in Spain.
The NBA office approved the deal after investigating whether there was more to Toronto waiving a player Dallas wanted at the same time the clubs made a trade. The league apparently ruled these were separate transactions.