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Mavs Center Ajinca Sent Back To Hotel Amid Trade Talk

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Copyright 2010 NBAE (Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images)

Copyright 2010 NBAE (Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (AP) - The Dallas Mavericks sent center Alexis Ajinca back to the team’s hotel on Thursday as a possible prelude to a trade that would enable them to sign veteran forward Peja Stojakovic.

Speaking before the Mavericks’ game against the Bulls, Dallas head coach Rick Carlisle said, “All I can say this point is that Peja Stojakovic has been waived. We’re one of many teams that has interest in him, so we’ll see what happens with that.

“Ajinca is not here tonight because he’s inactive. We’ve sent him to the hotel because there is a possibility that he will be traded. … Nothing has happened yet and I’m not sure anything is going to happen tonight.”

Stojakovic agreed to a buyout of his contract with the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday, making him a free agent.

“With Stojakovic, you’re talking about one of the great shooters,” Carlisle said. “There are a lot of teams that are going to be interested.”

Dallas has been searching for help at the small forward position since starter Caron Butler went down with a season-ending knee injury on Jan. 1. Butler was averaging 15 points and 30 minutes per game.

Ajinca, a third-year player out of France, has averaged 2.9 points and 1.7 rebounds over 10 games with Dallas. Since the Mavericks are carrying the league maximum of 15 players on the roster, they would need to open a roster spot to make room for Stojakovic.

Stojakovic, a 12-year veteran, averaged 8.1 points in eight games this season with Toronto and New Orleans and is shooting 48.4 percent from 3-point range.

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