According to Peja Stojakovic's agent, the Pacers inquired about Peja for Artest in June, but that was shot down by the Kings.
Stojakovic seeks trade
By Martin McNeal -- Bee Staff Writer
Published 4:55 pm PDT Thursday, August 5, 2004
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[Updated 7:02 p.m.] Three-time all-star small forward Peja Stojakovic believes it is time for a change, and has asked the Kings to trade him.
Stojakovic, the NBA's second-leading scorer, met with Kings President of Basketball Operations Geoff Petrie on July 23 and informed him he wanted to be traded.
Stojakovic, who was in Belgrade, Serbia-Montenegro, on Thursday at a promotional appearance, refused to explain why he felt he needed to be traded.
"I just think that the team had their chances," said Stojakovic of the Kings, for whom he averaged a career-high 24.2 points per game last season, "and the opportunities are closing. I talked to Geoff. I told him I just think it needs to happen. I just think it would be good for them and for myself, with all due respect. Sacramento is great, but I think I need a change."
Stojakovic's agent, David Bauman, said he knew the Kings would not have a fire sale involving his client, but believed the team could possibly make a deal.
"We know he's got two years left on his contract," said Bauman, who also is in Serbia-Montenegro, of Stojakovic. "But I believe the (Indiana) Pacers inquired about something with Peja and (Ron) Artest in June and that was quickly shot down by the Kings."
Said Stojakovic, "I'm probably one of the easiest players to trade, and I'm willing to go."
Petrie said he would not divulge the specifics of his conversation with Stojakovic. However, the idea of trading the small forward was not high on his list.
"He's probably one of the last guys I'd want to trade," Petrie said. "He's flourished here and the team has done extremely well. He's been a big part of that, too, and I have a lot of respect for the guy.
"It's too speculative to make a prediction about what will happen. It's one of those things where you don't know how it's going to go. I do know I'm going to go on vacation soon for the better part of the rest of the month.
Neither Stojakovic nor Bauman attributed this trade request to comments made after the season by Kings power forward Chris Webber.
"He's not requesting a trade because of anything Chris Webber did or said," Bauman said. "He has no problem with the Maloofs, Geoff, Rick Adelman or anybody there. This has a lot to do with (veteran center) Vlade (Divac) being gone."
Kings co-owner Joe Maloof said he had no interest in trading Stojakovic, who was drafted by Petrie in 1996 while playing in Greece and eventually came to Sacramento in 1998. Maloof did indicate he was concerned by his player's request.
"Oh, of course," Maloof said. "Anytime you have your best player, one of your best players who is asking for a trade, you're concerned. We want to get this back on a positive track. We want to talk to Peja and get this straightened out. We want to get him to understand that we've still got unfinished business here. We're not interested at all in trading him. That's the furthest thing from our minds."
For more information, see Friday's Bee.