DALLAS -- Sasha Pavlovic went from the street to NBA starter. Is it conceivable that he can go from NBA starter back to the street?
Yes, it is.
Is it likely? The Dallas Mavericks front office could be leaning in that direction after signing Peja Stojakovic on Monday. Pavlovic's second 10-day contract expires after Saturday's game. Donnie Nelson and Mark Cuban will then have to either sign him for the remainder of the season or waive him. Dallas might be more in favor of opening a roster spot for flexibility to make moves in the coming weeks.
Pavlovic signed his first 10-day contract on Jan. 10 in the wake of Caron Butler's season-ending knee injury. Four games in, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle plugged Pavlovic in as the starting small forward to move Shawn Marion back to his reserve role. Pavlovic, who has started five of the nine games he's played, scored 11 points in the big win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Jan. 19 to ensure his second 10-day contract.
The 6-foot-10 Stojakovic is a taller, more versatile and a more accomplished version of the 6-7 Pavlovic. Stojakovic figures to eat up a significant number of the minutes available at small forward along with Marion, making Pavlovic expendable. The one caveat is Stojakovic's lingering knee issue. He's played in just eight games this season and hasn't suited up since Nov. 26.
On Thursday, Carlisle said it would be "a while" before Stojakovic is ready to play. Later, one team source suggested a week to 10 days. If the Mavs part with Pavlovic it would leave them potentially shorthanded for a handful of games, yet that might not be enough to pursuade the club to keep him over opening a spot on the 15-man roster.
Pavlovic gave the Mavs something to ponder with his 11-point performance Thursday in the 111-106 win over the Houston Rockets. He played 22 minutes, knocked down 3-of-4 from beyond the arc and added two assists and a couple of steals.
The consistency, as might be expected coming in on a 10-day contract at mid-season, has not been there. Pavlovic scored 22 points and made 9-of-14 shots combined against the Lakers and Rockets. In the other seven games, he's scored 15 total points on 4-of-16 shooting.