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Newz Forum: BASKETBALL: Raptors waive Mourning; agent calls it 'win-win'

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posted on Feb, 11 2005 @ 05:58 PM
Alonzo Mourning and the Toronto Raptors agreed on a buyout of his contract Friday, amid speculation the seven-time All-Star center will sign with the Miami Heat.

Mourning, 35, was acquired from New Jersey in a trade for Vince Carter on Dec. 17 but never reported to the Raptors.

Should he clear waivers -- which is likely because he's owed at least $14 million under his current contract -- Mourning would be free to sign with the Heat on Tuesday.

Speaking on a radio show hosted by his former college coach, John Thompson, Mourning -- who lives in Miami and whose foundation is based there -- strongly indicated that he's hoping for a reunion with the Heat.

"I can still play this game at a high level; I've proven that," Mourning told WTEM-AM radio Friday. "Come in and use my skills to help contribute to the success of a team and make things a lot easier for them. ... I want to be home. I want to be close to my family. I want to be close to my foundation and my business interests."

Only three teams have the cap room, or trade exceptions, necessary to claim Mourning off waivers -- the Bobcats, Rockets and Nets -- but none appears likely to be willing to swallow the remaining $15 million Mourning has left on his contract.

"I think this is really a win-win for both Alonzo and the Raptors," Mourning's agent, Jeff Weschler, told ESPN Insider Chad Ford. "Clearly, Alonzo wasn't in their long-term plans and Zo wanted the opportunity to explore his options with other teams."

The Raptors didn't reveal the financial details of the buyout, but a source close to the negotiation told Ford that Mourning will receive roughly $10 million of the $15 million that the team still owed him. The amount will be prorated, for cap purposes, over the next two seasons.

Mourning has played a total of 30 games under a contract that will end up paying him $17 million. That means that Mourning earned $566,666 per game under the contract.

So even though Mourning is giving up roughly $5 million to get out of his contract, his per-game total was the richest in NBA history.

Toronto general manager Rob Babcock said a news conference will be held before Friday night's game against Philadelphia.

"Alonzo does not meet our medical conditions to play for our basketball team," Babcock said in a statement. "While we realize it may be possible for him to play in limited circumstances, we've been able to confirm our expectations that because of his medical issues he would not be able to fit into our long-term strategy of building something sustainable.

"We felt it was in the best interests of the Raptors to reach a financial settlement which would provide us additional financial flexibility. We are pleased with the deal we've been able to make and wish Alonzo the best in his future."

Babcock said in December that Mourning was included in the Carter trade so the salaries would match up. Toronto also acquired forwards Aaron Williams and Eric Williams and two first-round draft picks.

The rookie general manager has been criticized for getting little in return for Carter, who seems rejuvenated in New Jersey.

The 35-year-old center, who underwent a kidney transplant Dec. 19, 2003, stopped playing in early December because of what he said were hip, knee, hand and leg problems. He was openly unhappy with the Nets' offseason moves, and had demanded a trade to a contender. The Nets and Mourning discussed buying out his contract, but the two sides were too far apart.

Weschler refused to substantiate talk that his client will immediately sign with the Heat once he clears waivers, but Mourning's comments late Friday made it clear the player would be happy if that were the case.

"We haven't gotten that far yet," Weschler said before Mourning's radio interview. "We just wanted to clear up this situation first."

So that's the official line, but a source in Miami told Ford that the team likely would begin negotiations with Mourning once he clears waivers with an eye toward adding him to the team, and multiple sources said a deal could happen quickly.

If Mourning is healthy enough to play, his addition should provide some much-needed depth up front for the Heat, Ford reported. Before leaving the Nets, Mourning was averaging 10.4 points per game, 7 rebounds per game and 2.3 blocks per game. The goal would be to have Mourning playing 10 to 15 minutes a night to give Shaq some much-needed rest going into the home stretch.

Heat executives had no immediate comment.

"It doesn't concern anybody at this point because nothing's happened," Heat coach Stan Van Gundy said. "Everything's hypothetical. There's nothing to say."

If Mourning becomes a free agent, Miami -- which has the Eastern Conference's best record, but is only 11-10 against the West -- could sign him for a prorated share of the $1.1 million veteran minimum salary, which would work out to be around $350,000 for the remainder of the year.

"Zo would make any team better," Heat guard Dwyane Wade said. "We've all got a great relationship. We've all got great respect for him."

Added Heat center Shaquille O'Neal: "It definitely makes us stronger and it's something I accept."

The notion of Mourning's return to Miami, for whom he was under contract for eight years, isn't new; rumors that he'd like to be back have swirled for weeks. He was at Miami's home game against Houston on Jan. 30, and drew loud cheers from fans who noticed him leaving through a courtside tunnel.

Lisa Joseph, a spokeswoman for Mourning, said he would have no comment Friday.

Mourning averaged 10.4 points and 7.1 rebounds in 18 games for the Nets this season. He played in 12 games for the Nets in 2003-04, retiring three weeks into that season because of complications from focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, a kidney disease that was first diagnosed in 2000.

The kidney disease kept Mourning out for much of Miami's 2000-01 season, but he played in 75 games the next year and made the All-Star team. Yet his condition deteriorated again and he missed the entire 2002-03 season, his last in a $105 million, seven-year deal with the Heat.

Mourning was hindered by an assortment of injuries this season. An aching right hip makes his leg weak. His right pinkie has torn tendons, and his right knee and right Achilles tendon are sore.

Wechsler wouldn't couldn't comment on Mourning's health status. A message left for Dr. Gerald Appel, one of Mourning's physicians, wasn't returned.

Since joining the NBA out of Georgetown in 1992, Mourning -- who lives in Miami -- has averaged 19.8 points and 9.6 rebounds in 652 career regular-season games.

Information from ESPN Insider Chad Ford and The Associated Press was used in this report.



posted on Feb, 11 2005 @ 07:48 PM
I don't think he'll have much impact in Miami. He's battled numerous injuries this season as well as trying to return from the kidney thing. I give him all the credit in the world but I'm not sure if he'll be able to contribute much. If indeed he can, he would be a good replacement to spell Shaq once in a while. Sean Elliott also struggled when he came back from the same type of procedure, it must take a toll on your body.

posted on Feb, 11 2005 @ 07:55 PM
I think the best thing they can do is use him to spell Shaq, it'd be a good fit for all.

posted on Feb, 18 2005 @ 01:20 PM

MIAMI -- Alonzo Mourning's return to the Miami Heat is imminent.

Heat president Pat Riley said that he expects Mourning, who cleared waivers on Tuesday and underwent a physical immediately thereafter, to be at practice with the team on Monday.

Mourning, a seven-time All-Star, underwent a kidney transplant 14 months ago, played just 30 games in parts of two seasons with the Nets, who traded him to Toronto on Dec. 17.

Mourning spent eight years in Miami, a stay interrupted twice by his fight with kidney disease. No contract will be signed until the physical is done, a process Riley said may take a couple days. Mourning, who cleared waivers Tuesday and became a free agent, could be in a Heat uniform by early next week.


posted on Mar, 1 2005 @ 09:32 PM
Alonzo Mourning once was larger than life, the Miami Heat's biggest star. Now, even he acknowledges those days are gone.

Yet Mourning also steadfastly believes he can still play at a championship-caliber level. And now, at last, he's back with Miami and ready to resume his past quest -- delivering the Heat's first NBA title.

The seven-time All-Star center signed a contract Tuesday to rejoin Miami, the team with whom he spent eight previous seasons -- a stint twice interrupted by kidney disease. He's expected to make about $325,000 for the rest of the season, a prorated share of the $1.1 million minimum veteran contract.

Zo might be a good backup to Shaq in Miami, I hope it works out for him. The Heat have a good team down there.

[Edited on 3-1-2005 by ProudAmerican]

posted on Mar, 1 2005 @ 09:55 PM
He gives them good depth down low, his signing does nothing but help the Heat.

posted on Mar, 5 2005 @ 02:09 PM
Shaquille O'Neal, from the bench, even joined in the sellout crowd's chant of "We want Zo!" And they got their wish: Alonzo Mourning made his formal homecoming, scoring four points and adding four rebounds in the final 3:37.

"It was a good feeling," said Mourning, who wore a home Heat uniform for the first time since the end of the 2001-02 season after rejoining the club this week. "I was just a little stiff, getting out there. I'm no spring chicken anymore."

posted on Mar, 5 2005 @ 02:35 PM
Good 'Zo, hope you continue doing well!

posted on Mar, 6 2005 @ 02:37 AM
I's like to see Zo do well too.

I think Miami could be the team to beat in the East.

posted on Mar, 6 2005 @ 10:23 AM

Originally posted by ProudAmerican
I's like to see Zo do well too.

I think Miami could be the team to beat in the East.

definately, with 'Zo and Shaq they are teh team expected to take the East. I say lookout for the Sixers, though. When Webber gets into a rythem with the club, they should go deep into the playoffs,evenif they only have the 8th spot...

posted on Mar, 6 2005 @ 12:34 PM

Originally posted by Gibbs Baby!!!

definately, with 'Zo and Shaq they are teh team expected to take the East. I say lookout for the Sixers, though. When Webber gets into a rythem with the club, they should go deep into the playoffs,evenif they only have the 8th spot...

I think the Sixers can make some noise in the East if and when Webber gets comfortable on the Sixers. Iverson is on top of his game right now, he's averaging close to 40 points per game the past few weeks.

The bad thing about the 8th spot in the East is that they will get the Heat in the first round. It's a close race with still over 20 games left, anything can happen.

East standings

1. Miami
2. Detroit, 6 1/2 games back
3. Boston 12 1/2
4. Washington 10
5. Cleveland 11 1/2
6. Orlando 12
7. Chicago 13
8. Indiana 14

9. Philly 14 1/2

Philly is just 2 games behind Boston for the Atlantic Division, which will automatically bump them all the way to the 3rd seed if they can overcome them. They got stronger too though getting back Antoine Walker and Gary Payton. Should be an interesting homestretch.

Anyone watch the Lakers-Mavs the other night?

The Lakers had on their old school blue on and Dirk cut off all of his hair.

posted on Mar, 7 2005 @ 08:42 AM
I watched the Heat-Cavs game last night on ESPN, they are going to be tough to beat. Zo looks like he still has enough to contribute and Shaq is just well, Shaq. They bring such a good inside-outside game with Shaq and Wade.

posted on Mar, 30 2005 @ 08:26 AM
I still don't think it is right for what Mourning did. You should play for the love of the game....not for what you want...See Malone tried to get a championship with the Lakers but he did not accomplish this, then he retired. I would rather retire knowing I played the game to my fullest instead of cheating myself out to win a championship!

posted on Mar, 30 2005 @ 09:32 PM
I give him credit for coming back, and admitting that he fits in as a role player now, rather than the man. The motives may seem selfish at a glance, but they really are team centered.

posted on Apr, 7 2005 @ 08:08 AM
Well with Mourning going to Miami, he actually has a chance to win a championship. Question though, does he wish that he was still playing in New Jersey or would he want to be playing in Miami instead? That is the question of the day if you ask me. But the Toronto Raptors should make some good pick-ups since they have more salary space and since they have 2 of the highest draft numbers, their draft picks should help out 2!

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