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Saturday, January 22, 2011
Alexis Ajinca and the cold side of NBA life

By Jeff Caplan

NEWARK, N.J. -- Alexis Ajinca, the Dallas Mavericks' 7-foot-1, usually upbeat, fourth-string center, arrived at United Center Thursday in Chicago and walked through the concourse headed to the locker room as he always does with his head phones on and his head gently bobbing atop his long, lanky body.

But, this day would be like no other in his three-year career. The Mavs were in the process of acquiring a verbal commitment from Peja Stojakovic to join the team after he was waived by the Toronto Raptors on Thursday. To make room on the 15-man roster, Dallas would have to shed a player and it was working on a trade to send Ajinca to the Raptors, as reported by ESPN.com's Marc Stein.

Ajinca was getting ready for the game when TNT, which was broadcasting the game, caught Mavs coach Rick Carlisle breaking the news to Ajinca, a Frenchman who is quite friendly with French-speaking teammates Ian Mahinmi and Roddy Beaubois. Because of the ongoing nature of the trade mechanics, Ajinca was sent back to the team hotel and presumably he figured he would soon be told when he would be leaving to join his new team.

Only a snag has held up the trade, as Stein reported, leaving Ajinca a man essentially without a team. Ajinca did not travel to New Jersey on Friday with the team. Instead he is back in Dallas waiting to be informed where he'll go next and when.