BOSTON -- Sasha Pavlovic was at his home in Montenegro this summer when he received the phone call informing him he had been traded from the Boston Celtics to the Portland Trail Blazers. He was one of many pieces involved in a three-team deal with the Houston Rockets that sent Courtney Lee to Beantown. Of the seven teams Sasha Pavlovic has played for over his 10-year NBA career, the two seasons he spent on the Boston Celtics stand out the most.
"I've been in the league for a long time," Pavlovic told CSNNE.com. "I know how it works. I didn't really think about (being traded in the offseason at the end of last season) at all. I liked it here. I really miss it. I miss everything."
Pavlovic played a total of 62 games for the Celtics after signing with the team as a free agent in March of 2011. He was a reserved figure in the locker room, always friendly and engaging but never one to seek out the spotlight. When he moved to Portland, he left behind interesting factoids tied to his time with the Celtics.
Neighborly Bond with Bradley: Pavlovic had two questions on his mind before Friday's game against the Celtics. "Where is Avery?" he asked excitedly during pregame warmups, followed by, "When will he be able to play?" When Avery Bradley passed by him on the Celtics bench, Pavlovic called out his name and the two shared a reunion on the court, a short distance away from where they formed a close bond as lockermates.
"He was a rookie when I got there and we sat next to each other in the locker room," said Pavlovic. "I tried to help him as much as I could because he's always asking questions and wanted to learn from everybody. I really like him. We texted right before the season started. I felt bad for him (with his double shoulder surgery) but I know he's a tough kid. He's going to come back stronger than before. I just hope it's sooner than later."
Insight into Darko: Pavlovic reached out to longtime friend Darko Milicic when he heard the big man signed with the Celtics this fall. Though not one to often show his emotions, Milicic expressed his excitement to play in Boston. Pavlovic reaffirmed his sentiment.
"We became friends a couple years before I got in the league," said Pavolvic. "I know he was working out really hard this summer. We talked to each other and he was excited to come here. I read in the interviews he said he was ready to kill if he had to kill somebody (laughs), so he was excited. He didn't really ask me for advice, but I told him that I liked it here and he was going to like it."
An Introduction to the NHL from One of Boston's Best: For his first season in Boston, Pavlovic didn't realize he was playing in the same city as another athlete with a Serbian heritage. When Celtics strength and conditioning coach Brian Doo told him about Boston Bruins Milan Lucic, whose parents grew up in Serbia, Pavlovic was eager to meet him. They were introduced to one another during the Cs first round playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks.
"The first handshake, whoo," Pavlovic said last season. "Hes a good guy, a very good guy. Im impressed."
They planned to get together in the offseason, but Pavlovic's trade to Portland and the NHL lockout altered their arrangements.
"He texted me his new number this summer so we still kept in touch," said Pavlovic on Friday. "I never really watched hockey but I heard about him. He's a great guy, a great guy. It's good to know somebody from your country who's successful in that kind of sport here."
Pavlovic played just three minutes in the Trail Blazers 96-78 loss to the Celtics. His ultimate goal is to help his new team win, but there was still a good feeling for him being back at the TD Garden.
"To play for the Celtics is a little bit different than anywhere else because of what they did in the past and their big history," he said. "The last two seasons when I played I think I had the greatest teammates in the world. I really enjoyed being part of it."