Cassell May Move; Walker May Not
Posted Feb 26 2008 11:47PM
MINNEAPOLIS, Feb. 26 (AP) -- The NBA's trade deadline passed without movement for Antoine Walker, an accomplished if aging veteran stuck on the rebuilding Minnesota Timberwolves without much opportunity for playing time.
The 31-year-old asked to be dealt to another team before the deadline last Thursday afternoon, but that didn't happen. So Walker has been hoping this week the Wolves will buy out his contract in time to allow him to clear waivers and join a playoff contender by Saturday. That would make him eligible for the postseason roster.
"We're trying to figure out a number that's fair for both sides,'' Walker said Tuesday before Minnesota's game against the Utah Jazz.
Also looking to jump ship is Sam Cassell, point guard for the Los Angeles Clippers, whose injury woes have sunk them for the season. The Clippers tried to deal the 38-year-old before Thursday's deadline, looking to land Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Miller in a multi-player trade. Negotiations fell apart, however, and other possible trade windows closed as time ran out.
Cassell confirmed Monday that buyout talks have heated up.
"They've been discussing it. What more can I say?" Cassell told the Los Angeles Times. "Both parties are getting to a number and saying, 'OK, this is what we'll do it for.' I just want to be treated fairly."
The 15-year NBA veteran is in the second year of a two-year contract, and would have to give up part of money from the $6 million deal in order to be waived.
Walker, who is making $8.5 million this season and is scheduled to draw $9.3 million next season, does not want to give up much of his guaranteed money. The Wolves have already coughed up millions to buy out Juwan Howard and
"I'm not sure anything's going to happen or not,'' agent Mark Bartelstein said. "We'll see. We've had conversations. If we can't get something worked out, then he'll stay there.''
The Wolves are trying to evaluate a handful of young forwards, so on a team destined for the lottery there is little need to use Walker for more than token minutes. With the recent return of center Theo Ratliff from injury, there is even less time in the frontcourt to go around.
Walker, acquired during training camp from the Miami Heat for Ricky Davis and Mark Blount, is frustrated with his role -- though he has been consistently polite and respectful and visibly supportive of Minnesota's myriad youngsters.
"He's a pro. There's no question,'' Bartelstein said. "He's going to be doing it the right way, no matter what happens.''
Through a team spokesman, Kevin McHale declined to comment. And coach Randy Wittman is tired of talking about Walker's status.
"Antoine has done a fabulous job since he's been here, and I know that he probably wants to be in a different situation,'' Wittman said. "With Theo coming back, we need to look at certain guys and it's going to cut into his time right now. I don't know how else you want me to answer it.''
Cassell looks to have more of a chance to move quickly as the Celtics, Suns and Nuggets have shown interest. But all three likely playoff contenders also have been eying free agent Brent Barry, who was waived after being dealt to the Sonics. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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