Alexis Ajinca

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Alexis Ajinca
Alexis Ajinca
Position: Center
Height: 7'0"
Weight: 260
Nationality: French
Born: 5/6/1988
Birthplace: Saint Etienne, France
Draft: First Round (20th overall)
Drafted By: Charlotte
College: n/a
NBA Career: 2009 - present
Mavs Tenure: 2010 - 2011

Alexis Ajinca (born May 6, 1988 in Saint Etienne, France) was obtained by the Dallas Mavericks in a trade, along with Tyson Chandler from the Charlotte Bobcats in return for Erick Dampier, Matt Carroll and Eduardo Najera on July 13, 2010.

Ajinca did not even begin playing basketball until the age of 12. When he was growing up his passion was as a BMX rider who enjoyed multiple top-five finishes for his age group. He eventually found his way on the court, however, and in the summer of 2004 was a member of the French team that captured the European Under-16 Championship.

He was a member of France's Under-18 team the next two seasons and paced the team with 6.9 ppg and 7.5 rpg as they won the Gold Medal in 2006. He saw action in two games for Pau-Orthez after spending most of the year with their junior team. Ajinca further refined his game with appearances in the 2007 and 2008 Nike Hoop Summits.

The 2007-2008 campaign was spent with Hyeres-Toulon of the French Pro-A League team. After the season he declared as an early entry candidate for the 208 NBA draft and was selected by the Charlotte Bobcats in the first round.

As a rookie, the 7'0 center played in 31 games, starting four of them. He averaged 2.3 points and 1.0 rebound in 5.9 minutes of action. His career-high of 12 points and 4 rebounds came on December 10, 2008 against New Orleans. Toward the end of the season, in order to see more playing time, Ajinca spent a month in the NBA D-League with the Sioux Falls Skyforce.

Beginning 2009-2010 in Charlotte, he appeared in six games averaging 1.7 points in 5.0 minutes before being returning to the D-League, this time with the Maine Red Claws. Unfortunately after just 22 games, in which he averaged 14.6 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.1 blocks, Ajinca suffered a torn ligament in his right thumb which required surgery. His performance garnered him selection to the Eastern Conference D-League All-Star Team but, because of the injury, he was unable to play in the game.

During the offseason, he was traded to Dallas and made the team coming out of training camp.

In ten games with the Mavs, Ajinca appeard in 10 games (2 starts), averaging 2.9 points and 1.7 rebounds in 7.5 minutes. The 7'0 center was traded on January 24, 2011 to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for the rights to Georgios Printezis.

He later returned to France to play professionally with both Hyeres-Toulon for a short stint and then two seasons with SIG Strasbourg. The NBA called one again as Ajinca signed a free agent contract with the New Orleans Pelicans on December 20, 2013.