Peja Stojakovic Rumors

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Jason Thompson will pass Peja Stojakovic on Friday night as the all-time leader in games played by a King in the Sacramento era. It’s a feat that many would celebrate. 519 games with one franchise is rare in today’s game. The Kings intend to do something special for their starting power forward when the team returns to Sacramento later this month, but Thompson would just assume they didn’t.
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You are in Sacramento and I know Geoff Petrie is still out here somewhere. Have you talked to him and is he going to be here for your big night? He’s the guy who found you and took the gamble on you when everyone thought he should have taken John Wallace. Have you talked to Geoff? Predraj Stojakovic: Actually we did. He called me this morning. Geoff played a big part in my career. I told him this morning that if it wasn’t for his persistence, I would never have come to the NBA. He was so convincing at that time that I should just believe in myself and that I was worth coming to the NBA. Obviously, he’s the one who believed in me and supported me when I needed him the most in my early career. We are definitely going to see each other, if not tomorrow at the game, for lunch or dinner, because we still have a great relationship. Geoff has been in my corner from day one.
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The Sacramento Kings announced today that the #16 jersey of three-time NBA All-Star and NBA Champion Peja Stojakovic will be retired on December 16, when the Kings host the Oklahoma City Thunder at Sleep Train Arena. During his eight seasons in Sacramento, the fan-favorite small forward played more games for the Kings than any player during the Sacramento era and had an immeasurable impact on the community both on and off the court. “Peja Stojakovic was instrumental in putting Sacramento on the map on a global scale,” said Kings Owner Vivek Ranadivé. “As one of only a select group of Serbian players in the NBA, Peja helped carve out a place for basketball players from all over the world. Recognizing his leadership will be a special moment for fans and the entire Kings organization, as well as a great reminder of the kind of success we are building in Sacramento.”
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Rookie Ben McLemore must be a little prescient. A short while ago on Twitter, he alerted Kings fans that he was changing his jersey from No.16 to No.17 “for a good reason.” Like the fact the organization plans to retire Peja Stojakovic’s No.16 jersey in the near future? No confirmation yet – and nothing is imminent – but that’s very likely the plan. Meantime, McLemore will stick with No.16 at least for the upcoming season. “We have considered retiring Peja’s number,” said team president Chris Granger, “and he certainly deserves that honor. (But) at this time, that’s all I will say.”
NBA Legends Horace Grant, Ron Harper and Peja Stojakovic, who collectively have won 10 NBA Championships, will participate in NBA Jam. The event will feature the largest 3-on-3 tournament ever held in India and include a National Finals televised on SONY SIX. The traveling interactive basketball festival combines exciting on-court competition with concerts by well-known local musicians and authentic NBA entertainment and experiences for fans of all ages.
Every Maverick who was on the championship roster will get his ring in Dallas this season — including Peja Stojakovic, assuming the Mavericks can work out travel arrangements for the recently retired gunslinger, owner Mark Cuban said Monday. The Mavericks will fly in the midseason acquisition who played a key role in the title run for the ring ceremony on Jan. 25 against Minnesota at American Airlines Center. J.J. Barea, now with the Timberwolves, will be on hand as a visitor. Stojakovic, who has retired but still probably could help a number of teams if he so desired this season, will be flown in from New Orleans, where his family lives.
Stojakovic told ESPN.com on Monday that the physical toll caused by a string of back and neck troubles, at age 34, convinced the three-time All-Star that “it’s time” to step away from the game despite interest from a handful of contenders in signing the sharpshooter away from the Mavericks. “When you start competing against your body more than you’re preparing for the actual game,” Stojakovic said, “it’s a wakeup call.”
The arrival of Fernandez will create options for the Mavericks at the swing positions and most likely will have an impact on the free agency of Caron Butler, DeShawn Stevenson and Peja Stojakovic. All three spend at least part of their time on the court playing the same position as Fernandez, whom Nelson said has the “potential” to be a starter. “We’re hoping to get the same cast back, because the chemistry was so unique,” Nelson said. “You don’t ‘break up’ championship teams. That’s not something you do if you want to have a crack at it again, and we do. Hopefully, knock on wood, things will work out.”
Indications from sources are the Mavericks want to at least bring back Chandler, Barea and injured forward Caron Butler. Brian Cardinal and Peja Stojakovic are the other two free agents. The Mavs currently aren’t in position to lock up any of the free agents. The threat of a lockout and the new collective bargaining agreement will certainly change the financial parameters of future contract negotiations. Much has to be sorted out before next season’s roster is constructed.
During the national anthem before the start of Game 1, Peja Stojakovic shot a glance to his old Sacramento teammate Mike Bibby, standing across the way. “We looked at each other, kind of laughing,” said Stojakovic, who played with Bibby from 2001 to 2006. “It’s weird how life can make things. I never thought I would be on a team this year that was fighting for a championship. And probably, he never thought that, too.”
Pretty deeply rooted, even on the left coast. Leaving Cleveland was sad for Cavs fans, but sorry, folks, completely understandable. The organization had years to build a dynasty around the game’s best player. That’s on them. But then there was LeBron’s ESPN debacle, the party before there was any reason to party, the bump-and-grind with classy Erik Spoelstra, and you can see where this is going. “Ah, I just hope I get a ring before Peja does,” Bibby said Saturday when asked about all the drama, evading the issues and punctuating his remarks with his throaty, one -syllable laugh. “I just want to win. When I saw him awhile ago and asked him, ‘So, how many teams have you played for since the Kings?’ I made fun of him. I told him I had him beat because this is only my third team. He laughed. We talked a bit, caught up on stuff.”
Coach Rick Carlisle declined to comment directly about big man Brendan Haywood’s pointed criticism of the Mavs’ perimeter D – and particularly Peja Stojakovic’s work – in the first two games of the series. “I just don’t think that would be wise,” Carlisle said, noting that he had not heard the quotes or seen Haywood’s body language while delivering them. Carlisle also declined to discuss whether it’s accurate to pinpoint perimeter defense as one the Mavs’ biggest problems against the Thunder, who have lit it up for an average of 109 points against a team that didn’t give up triple digits in the first two rounds of the playoffs. “Instead of getting into a [expletive] throw about whose fault it is,” Carlisle said, “what we’re going to do is circle the wagons and find a way to be better.”
The Mavericks sweeping the Lakers in four games in this Western Conference semifinal series was especially satisfying for two players. Peja Stojakovic, while playing for the Sacramento Kings, was knocked out of the playoffs for three consecutive seasons by the Lakers, who would go on to win the title in those years. The Kings lost to the Lakers in five games in the first round in the 1999-00 season and were swept in four games in the conference semifinals the following season. In 2001-02, the Kings lost in seven games to the Lakers in the conference finals. “It’s nine years ago,” Stojakovic. “We had our chance. It was very emotional for us over there, but it’s been so many years we all have to move on with our lives and our careers. I’m a different player and that was years ago. I’m on a different team.”
But neither Terry nor Nowitzki might have had their heroic chances without Peja Stojakovic, who had three fourth-quarter 3-pointers and drilled 11 of the Mavericks’ first 20 points in the period to keep them within range. Through it all, they played tough defense. “The key to the game, aside from Dirk being the guy who facilitated everything on offense, was that Peja did a great job on Lamar Odom the last six or seven minutes,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. “As great as Kobe Bryant is, and he is unguardable, Odom is right there with him as one of the most difficult matchups in all of basketball. We needed Peja’s shooting out there, but the job he did defensively was equally important.”