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Monday, January 10, 2011
Positive Sasha Pavlovic hopes to impress

By Jeff Caplan

DALLAS -- Sasha Pavlovic has 10 days to prove he deserves another 10 days and so on as the 27-year-old former teammate of LeBron James attempts to revive his career with the Dallas Mavericks.

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Drive Time with Tyson Chandler is here once again. Tyson calls in on the way to practice and compares Ben to Oprah, discusses his future with the Mavs, and serenades us again with a Michael Jackson tune.

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Pavlovic arrived in Dallas on Sunday, signed a 10-day contract Monday morning and then took part in his first practice with the Mavs.

"This is the first time in my seven years that I have been in this position," Pavlovic said. "I'm going to do my best and whatever happens happens."

The Mavs are searching for ways to fill the void left by Caron Butler, who is expected to miss the rest of the season after undergoing surgery to repair a ruptured patellar tendon in his right knee. The Mavs waived 3-point shooter Steve Novak last week and will give the 6-foot-8 Pavlovic, who was out of the league this season, a look.

"There were a lot of names we looked at and to us he was the guy that made the most sense for us, what we needed and how he would fit in with our personnel," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "Off a day-and-a half of having him here, I’m very pleased with the condition that he’s in, his IQ for the game and what we’ve thrown at him in a short period of time."

Dallas plays next on Wednesday night at Indiana, the start of a four-game road trip. Pavlovic is expected to be active and could see playing time.

"He [Carlisle] told me he wants me to step up defensively and make open shots," Pavlovic said. "So that’s what I’m going to try to do."

Pavlovic played on the Cleveland Cavaliers' 2007 Finals team, but his career has been on a downward trajectory from there.

He was dealt to the Phoenix Suns in the Shaquille O'Neal trade, was released and then signed by the Minnesota Timberwolves. He played in 71 games for the Wolves last season, averaging 3.7 points.

"It’s tough, but you've got to stay positive," Pavlovic said. "This is a tough league to be in and even tougher to stay in. As soon as you relax or have one bad year like I had you’re out. Last year I was a little bit down on my confidence and I think that’s the reason I didn’t have a job. But, like they say, what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger."