DALLAS _ Shortly after Saturday's 102-91 win over the Atlanta Hawks, the Dallas Mavericks released small forward Sasha Pavlovic.
After the game against the Hawks, Pavlovic's second 10-day contract with the Mavs expired. Thus, under NBA rules, the Mavs either had to sign him to a contract for the rest of the season, or waive him.
The Mavs chose the latter.
"The decision comes down from the top, and it basically involves (player/money) flexibility going forward,'' coach Rick Carlisle said. "I'm sure he's disappointed.
"But I''m also sure he'll hook on with someone else.''
Pavlovic averaged 4.1 points and 16.3 minutes in 10 games for the Mavs. He started six games, and the Mavs were 5-1 in those games.
"He did so much for us, he played hard,'' center Tyson Chandler said. "It was a tough situation coming in just learning the plays and getting thrust into the starting lineup.
"It's always tough when you have a guy come in like that. You welcome him in, you start to get to know him and then all of a sudden you find out he's no longer going to be with you.''
That's the business side of basketball that the players don't particularly care for. And Pavlovic is the latest victim.
"It's the nature of the business, so the only thing you can do is wish him well,'' Chandler said. "I hope he has success in the future. He did his job for us.''
Chandler said the players applaud what Pavlovic did for them under extreme circumstances.
"We all appreciate what he's done for us,'' he said. "He came in and gave us great effort, not only on the floor but in practice putting the extra time in trying to learn the plays.
"And because of him we were able to get back on our winning streak.''
Guard Jason Terry believes Pavlovic's departure may signal the first appearance in a Mavs uniform of Peja Stojakovic, who the Mavs acquired this past Monday.
"I was just stunned (Pavlovic was waived) after the game,'' Terry said. "He's been tremendous for us.
"Not only has he provided a spark defensively in the starting lineup, offensively he's been able to produce and knock down shots. So where do we go from here? We don't know. Hopefully, Stojakovic, this means that he's going to be healthy and he'll be out there soon.''
But coach Carlisle quickly shot that theory down, saying Stojakovic will not only miss Monday's home game against Washington, but probably won't play on the upcoming three-game road trip to New York, Boston and Charlotte.
"It's likely that he will not go on this trip, and that he will stay here and concentrate on conditioning and the physical aspect of getting ready to play,'' Carlisle said after the game. "At that point we believe he will be more ready to step on the court for a game.''
-- Dwain Price