Sources: Hornets to ink Sasha Pavlovic

Sasha Pavlovic is getting another 10-day contract ... from one of the Mavericks' divisional rivals this time.

The New Orleans Hornets, according to sources with knowledge of the move, plan to sign Pavlovic to a 10-day deal by Friday to give him the first chance to fill in for starting swingman Trevor Ariza.

Ariza severely sprained his right ankle in Wednesday's loss to Oklahoma City and was forced to wear a protective boot and use crutches after the game.

Although it's unclear how long Ariza will be sidelined -- it could be a matter of days as opposed to weeks, according to one source -- New Orleans felt as though it had to bring in a potential replacement.

The Mavericks were 5-1 with Pavlovic in the starting lineup but decided not to sign him for the remainder of the season after the Serbian guard completed two 10-day deals with Dallas, despite his instant popularity with Mavs coaches and teammates. He averaged 4.1 points in 10 games, including six starts.

Mavs owner Mark Cuban said earlier this week that the soon-to-come season debuts of Peja Stojakovic and Roddy Beaubois would have forced Pavlovic to the end of Dallas' bench, thus convincing Cuban that it was better to let Pavlovic go to maintain the flexibility that comes with an open roster spot as opposed to signing him for the rest of the season.

"With Roddy and Peja back, whenever that happens, we're going to have to already put someone else on the inactive list, so there's no point in just having somebody not to play," Cuban said. "And so, the flexibility is there for us. If somebody gets hurt we have flexibility to sign somebody and fill that role. And, if there's a trade opportunity, or buyout opportunity, then there's a chance, just like we did with Peja."

"You can sign [Pavlovic] for the rest of the year and then release him, but that's expensive," Cuban added. "So if we end up needing him [later in the season] and hopefully he hasn't been picked up, we sign him then.

"On the flip side," Cuban continued, "it would have been, 'Aren't you upset you kept [Pavlovic] when such-and-such became available?' "

If the Hornets elect not to sign Pavlovic for the remainder of the season should he complete two 10-day deals with New Orleans, Pavlovic would again become a free agent whom Dallas could sign to a deal for the rest of 2010-11.

For his career, he has averaged 5.5 points and 1.8 rebounds per game in eight seasons with Utah, Cleveland, Minnesota and Dallas.

Senior writer Marc Stein covers the NBA for ESPN.com.