2.22.2008

Cassell May Push Agent to Pursue Buyout

By Jonathan Abrams, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
February 22, 2008
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Clippers leading scorer Corey Maggette, who has been involved in heavy trade talks the last two years and can opt out of the final year of his contract after this season, was hardly mentioned in talks this year.

Instead, the talk surrounded the Alien, Sam Cassell.

He is in the last year of his contract and it is extremely unlikely he will re-sign with the Clippers. Cassell, 38, would be a valuable commodity for playoff teams, but he is now in a holding pattern with the deadline passed.

Several teams made inquiries on the veteran point guard, who is earning $6.15 million this season.

"I'm not to the point where I'm frustrated, but it just comes to a point with everybody talking about it and if it happens, it happens," Cassell said. "I don't mind playing it out. If I have to play it out, I'll play it out. We'll see what happens."

The next move Cassell could seek is a buyout of his contract, which would essentially be a divorce between him and the Clippers.

Cassell said he would talk to David Falk, his agent, and discuss his options. If he seeks a buyout, it would have to occur by March 1, in order for Cassell to be eligible to be on the roster for a playoff team.

Cassell hit his wrist against a camera on a drive for a layup against the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday and said he is unsure if he will play tonight against the Utah Jazz.

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Now let's recall what Cassell told the Boston Globe (yes, he later recanted, but both the Globe and Herald heard and recorded the same thing):

Cassell told the Boston Globe his agent, David Falk, has had conversations with the Clippers about a potential buyout and he is interested in joining the Celtics if such happens. Celtics general manager Danny Ainge has said he is interested in finding “the right veteran point guard” and is rumored to have interest in Cassell.

“I’ve earned enough,” said Cassell, on his willingness to accept a buyout. “I’ve saved a little money. I put money away. I just want to win. Winning is the most important thing to me.”

Cassell said a buyout is “the only way I can get (to Boston).” An NBA source said the Clippers do not have any trades or buyout on the table for Cassell. Ainge does not comment on other team’s players.

“I think I’d be a nice addition (to Boston),” Cassell said. “It would be fun, but I don’t even know if I’m wanted that far yet. I’m playing for the Clippers now.”

“Whatever happens, happens,” Cassell said. “But it is a good situation, the Boston situation, with the pieces and (Garnett) gets healthy. I’ve played with him before. I’ve played with Ray Allen before. I don’t think the adjustment would be tough for me. I get with Paul during the summer (in Los Angeles). I get with Perk during the summer. There are a lot of guys on that team that I am familiar with…

“I think it’s realistic. It’s matter of just time. I don’t want to say too much. I’m optimistic about the whole situation. That’s why I got David Falk. That’s what he loves to do.”

At the end of the Clippers shoot around, Cassell looked in the rafters at TD Banknorth Garden at all the retired Celtics jerseys and pondered what it would be like playing for the storied franchise.

“You got to wonder,” Cassell said. “All the tradition is in the rafters. Maybe not in this building, but in the rafters. It’s crazy. You see these guys DJ (Dennis Johnson)… (Cedric) Maxwell, ‘Chief’ (Robert Parish). You got so many numbers (retired) you don’t even have numbers you can wear.”

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