Peja Stojakovic signed with the Dallas Mavericks today, possibly removing the need for a Mavericks trade before the end of the regular season. By signing Stojakovic for the remainder of the season, it gives the Mavericks a great option at either the small forward slot or at shooting guard that suddenly makes them a threat to take the Western Conference again. This trade alone could help the Mavs overcome injuries, and puts them in the top three teams out West again.
According to Mark Cuban, who took to his Twitter account to make the official announcement, Stojakovic is indeed a member of the Mavericks now. It seems that Cuban is pretty excited about completing this signing, and he even remarked that it is “Time to let him drop some of those 3s on the bad guys.”
The “bad guys” in this instance must be the Los Angeles Lakers, who have controlled the Western Conference for the last few years. That is also the team that Dallas has to get through (after the San Antonio Spurs) if they want an NBA title.
While this might seem like a second page sports story coming out of the NBA, this could actually be a key move that makes the Mavericks one of the big contenders in the Western Conference. The reason is that they were already looking great when Caron Butler was the starting small forward, but when he went down with a serious injury, it left a gap in the roster the Mavs simply haven’t been able to fill yet. Getting Stojakovic for what has to be an inexpensive rate will be key to resurrecting this season.
Peja might be getting up there in years, and he certainly has missed quite a few games due to injury, he is still one of the deadliest long-range shooters in the NBA. This is a guy who in the 2003-04 season and the 2007-08 season averaged three three-pointers per game. No, that’s not how many he attempted: That’s how many he made, adding a defined weapon to every lineup he was on the floor with. Peja is one of those shooters who can really spread out the offense, and it should give Dirk Nowitzki even more room to play around with down low.
Stojakovic isn’t going to be a superstar in the league again, but he doesn’t need to be one anymore. The Mavericks just need him to come into town and be a reliable shooter who can be counted on to hit key shots with the game on the line. It also doesn’t hurt that he is one of the best free throw shooters to ever play the game, posting a career total of 89.5 percent from the line. That could be equally important during late-game situations, and NBA analysts could look back on this signing as one of the best acquisitions of the season.
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