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For newest Raptor, disruption of life is just part of the job

It’s a pain and a distraction to be told one day that all of a sudden you work somewhere else and you have to move to a new city to meet new co-workers.

It’s a pain and a distraction to be told one day that all of a sudden you work somewhere else and you have to move to a new city to meet new co-workers.

There are all kinds of things to deal with in a hurry: A wife, a couple of kids, housing and the like. Peja Stojakovic, the married father of two and the newest Raptor, is dealing with it as best he can.

But the 33-year-old has been around long enough and knows how privileged his life really is, so he’s not about to whine and complain about having change thrown at him with little regard for personal circumstances.

“NBA players, we have a good life,” Stojakovic said after going through his first Raptors practice yesterday. “We sometimes take things for granted. We live in a bubble and we get spoiled, but, overall, we have a good life.

“You get separated from your family and kids but it’s part of the business. I wish the situation was a little bit more stable but it is what it is.”

But if there was one place that might make it a touch easier for the 6-foot-10 forward, it was moving to Toronto from New Orleans after the major trade was consummated Saturday evening.

Stojakovic is one of the more grounded players you might meet and his background lends itself to being easily acclimated to a cosmopolitan and multi-cultural city like Toronto.

He is Serbian by birth and Greek by choice and knows he’s going to have a huge support system in Toronto for as long as he plays for the Raptors. He’s accustomed to a warm welcome from fans of his former countries when he came here as a visitor; it should only get warmer now that he’s actually on the team.

“I know there are a lot of people from Serbia, I know there are a lot of people from Greece, where my wife is from,” he said. “(There is) a lot more international flavour and every time I came here, I felt I was coming home.

“I already feel so good, it feels like I’m in a different country and I am, but closer to home.”

How long, of course, remains to be seen. Stojakovic, in the final year of a contract that pays him about $15 million US this season, could be a mere two-month rental for the Raptors, who could ship him out again at February’s trade deadline to a contending team that could use his shooting acumen and experience.

But, for now at least, he’s here and expects to make the most of whatever opportunities arise.

 
 
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