Saturday, January 19, 2008
Source: Grizz, Stoudamire near buyout; Suns, Celtics favorites to sign him
By Chris Sheridan
Damon Stoudamire is close to reaching a buyout agreement with the Memphis Grizzlies that would allow the 34-year-old point guard to sign as a free agent with either the Boston Celtics or the Phoenix Suns, a source told ESPN.com on Saturday.
There remained a possibility, however, that the Grizzlies would decide against a buyout if one of several teams seeking Stoudamire upped its offer in trade talks.
Either way, a resolution was expected within the next several days.
Coach Marc Iavaroni had little to say Saturday night in Charlotte, where the Grizzlies lost to the Bobcats 105-87.
"I have not heard that report," Iavaroni said. "That's the first I've heard of it. That would be my comment. That's news to me."
The Celtics, Suns, Miami Heat, Toronto Raptors and Denver Nuggets have all discussed trade possibilities with the Grizzlies to acquire Stoudamire, the 1996 Rookie of the Year and a 12-year veteran. Stoudamire was the Grizzlies' starting point guard over the first two months of the season before rookie Mike Conley was promoted. Stoudamire has not played since Dec. 30.
A source with knowledge of the trade talks said the situation also was being impacted by the possibility of Sam Cassell being traded or bought out by the Los Angeles Clippers.
Cassell is in the final season of a contract paying him $6.156 million. Stoudamire is earning $4.35 million this season and has one season remaining at $4.65 million, half if which is guaranteed.
Of the five teams known to be seeking Stoudamire, the Celtics appear to have the greatest need. Boston does not have a true point guard behind starter Rajon Rondo, a second-year pro who has missed three of the past four games with back and hamstring injuries.
Chris Sheridan covers the NBA for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.