Earl K. Sneed reports from the Mavericks' Monday practice, where Peja Stojakovic was an onlooker while the team waits to sign him off waivers.
DALLAS — While waiting for an approval on a pending trade with Toronto, the Mavericks believe that they moved one step closer to signing sharpshooter Peja Stojakovic.
As the NBA continues to examine the Mavericks’ proposed trade to send big man Alexis Ajinca to the Raptors, Stojakovic also waits, sitting in as an onlooker at Dallas’ Monday practice. As soon as the Ajinca trade goes through, the Mavericks hope to sign Stojakovic as a free agent after he clears waivers Monday afternoon.
“We’ve just got to be patient and go through the process,” Mavericks GM and president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said.
Stojakovic hasn’t played since Nov. 26 when he totaled 15 minutes and scored 13 points on 5-for-7 from the floor and 3-of-4 from behind the 3-point arc. The 13-year pro has been sidelined since with a minor knee injury.
“We all have to be patient. He hasn’t played in awhile, and we’ve got to get him back into mid-season game form and take it from there,” Nelson explained. “We need to see where he’s at physically. He’s stayed in shape. I think he’s fairly close, but until he gets out there and gets a couple of practices under his belt, we just won’t know.”
“There’s gonna be a period where we’re gonna have to make sure his conditioning and health is right before we put him on the floor,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle added. “I don’t know what that period of time is gonna be, but I think it’s important to understand that this is not a turnkey thing and now you have a starter. There’s gonna be a process involved, there’s gonna be a period of time for integration and dealing with whatever health issues remain and conditioning. He hasn’t played a game in six or seven weeks.”
Still, the Mavericks (28-15) believe that once, not if, they are able to sign the 40-percent career 3-point assassin, then it will merely be a matter of time before he’s back to his 17.2 points per game scoring average.
“I know he can shoot that basketball and he’s got to be guarded as soon as he steps in the building,” Nelson joked.
And Carlisle admits that he is looking forward to the opportunity to coach Stojakovic again, after the 6-foot-10 forward joined the coach’s Indiana team midseason via a trade with Sacramento in the 2005-06 season. The two spent 40 games together with the Pacers.
“He’s one of the greatest shooters to ever play the game … He did a great job for us in Indiana before he signed with New Orleans. And he’s not just a shooter. He’s a guy that’s a lot taller than you think, about 6-9 1/2 or 6-10. His rebounding numbers are deceptively good. He brings length to any team that he’s on. And his outside shooting is always gonna open up space for you offensively. So, there’s a lot of things that we like about him, and we feel very fortunate that we can get this deep into a conversation about getting him, because he’s gonna be an asset for us,” Carlisle said.
But the coach also points out that even if the deal gets done in time, he doesn’t expect to have Stojakovic ready to go for Tuesday night’s matchup against the likely Rookie of the Year, Blake Griffin, and the Los Angeles Clippers. So, while Stojakovic looked on, Monday’s practice was not focused on getting him acclimated, but more so centered on slowing down Griffin inside.
Back on Oct. 31, the Mavericks went into the Staples Center and handed the Clippers (17-26) a 99-83 home defeat. But Carlisle expects to see a much different opponent Tuesday night in the second of four regular-season meetings between the two teams.
“They’re a completely different team than when we saw them last time,” Carlisle said. “Their last 10 of 15 games they’ve been winning able 70 percent of the time. And they’re extremely athletic, they’ve gotten better offensively and defensively and they present major problems on the boards, in large part because of Griffin.”
Note: The Mavericks return to Dallas to face Rookie of the Year favorite Blake Griffin and the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday night. The Clippers-Mavericks showdown will tip off at 7:30 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by visiting the American Airlines Center box office, logging on to Mavs.com or by calling 214-747-MAVS (6287).
Stay connected with Dallas Mavericks inside reporter Earl K. Sneed by clicking "like" on his Facebook page or by following him on Twitter. Got a question for EKS? Send your question, along with your first name, last initial, city and state with the subject line "Ask EKS" to firstname.lastname@example.org, and you could be published on Mavsfastbreak.com, the Mavericks' new official blog site.
Create your own ticket plan with the Mavs Stretch Run Plan! Select from as few as six games or as many as 15, including great matchups against the Lakers, Spurs and many more! The plan also includes an option to purchase playoff tickets. Seats are limited so act fast! Visit mavs.com or call 214.747.MAVS to take advantage of this limited time offer!
Individual game tickets are on sale now. Tickets start as low as $2 and can be purchased at the American Airlines Center box office, on Mavs.com or by calling 214-747-MAVS (6287). Get in on the action and be there for all the thrills!
Fans can visit Mavs.com or call 214.747.MAVS for more information and a complete listing of regular-season home games.