Share 1-on-1: Dallas' Peja Stojakovic
By: Jim Eichenhofer,
March 9, 2011 caught up with Dallas forward Peja Stojakovic, one of two former New Orleans Hornets starters who are now key members of the Mavericks (center Tyson Chandler is the other). Stojakovic was arguably the biggest free-agent signing in Hornets franchise history when he was inked to a five-year deal in the summer of 2006. He spent four-plus seasons with New Orleans, before being dealt to Toronto in November of this season. After his contract was bought out by the Raptors, the 13-year veteran opted to sign for the remainder of 2010-11 with Dallas. When you became a free agent after your contract was bought out in Toronto midway through the season, the Hornets were one of the teams interested in bringing you back. Did those conversations ever become serious?
Stojakovic: They really didnt, because I made up my mind quickly (to sign with Dallas). I never really had the chance to pursue it any further. It was a decision that I felt comfortable with at that moment, and I still feel comfortable with it. I feel good about it. So Dallas was immediately your No. 1 destination?
Stojakovic: When the buyout situation happened, a few options came up. Dallas was one of them. I felt Dallas was the best option for me and I felt comfortable with it. What do you like about this Dallas team?
Stojakovic: Theyre experienced, well coached, a great organization. I believed this team has a chance to do something special in the playoffs. You were on several Sacramento teams that were close to winning a title or getting to the NBA Finals. Was championship potential one of your biggest considerations in picking a team?
Stojakovic: I felt this team reminded me a lot (of those Sacramento teams), especially the chemistry, how deep they are and the way they play. When I made the decision, I thought I could have a decent role with them and be a part of something good. What are your thoughts on how Tyson Chandler has played this season?
Stojakovic: Hes really improved. His energy that he brings on both ends (is valuable), but his offensive game really has improved. His free-throw percentage is much better than it was a few years ago. Hes making 15-foot jump shots and has really gotten better as a basketball player. Why are you not playing in Wednesdays game?
Stojakovic: Im having some back spasms. I dont know how long Im going to be out. It started (Tuesday). I had some back stiffness. Its just something I have to deal with. How disappointing is it to not be able to play here in New Orleans?
Stojakovic: I havent thought about that. Its nothing that I take any personal (additional motivation). Its a good opportunity for me to come here, see a lot of friends and also see my family, but thats about it.

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