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James expected to leave Wiz in buyout

Wizards guard Mike James has been granted an indefinite leave by the team in anticipation of a buyout, according to team sources.

The Wizards held onto James through Thursday in the event that his $6.6 million expiring contract might be included in a trade.

The parties are now expected to negotiate a buyout settlement before March 1 that will make James eligible to play in the playoffs with his next team.

James, 34, has appeared in only four games this season for the Wizards, but he started 50 games for Washington last season after arriving in a trade with New Orleans, averaging 9.6 points and 3.6 assists.

Cleveland and Miami are among the teams that have monitored James’ situation in Washington in hopes that he would eventually become an in-season free agent. It’s believed that Charlotte is an eventual landing spot for James after he played for Bobcats coach Larry Brown in Detroit when the Pistons won the championship in 2004.