March 1 is the final day for NBA teams to reach buyout agreements with players currently on their rosters, and a late flurry of rumors could lead to some minor movement before 11:59 p.m. on Friday. Raja Bell and Omri Casspi are among the players that could be on the move, while bigger names like Corey Maggette are fading from the conversation. Here are the latest rumors on which players and teams are negotiating buyouts.
Raja Bell hasn't played at all this season, but he is pursuing a buyout of the final year of his contract with the Utah Jazz. Mark Stein of ESPN says the two sides are still talking, but that the Los Angeles Lakers are no longer the most likely team to scoop Bell up. However, the Lakers are expected to make a run at signing Bell if he becomes available. Bell's contract for this season is $3.48 million.
Jazz Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Kevin O'Connor isn't prepare to just hand Bell over to L.A., however. Here's a portion of the transcript from O'Connor's interview on 1280 The Zone from earlier in the week, via The Salt Lake Tribue:
"We're not just going to let him walk away. We're paying him the money. He's going to get money. He can't get all the money from us and then go make more with the Lakers. Oh, thank you. I'd get fired for that. I'd fire me for that."
"We've said it from the start: All we want is a minimum buyout. We never heard from him. He never said yes to it. We would have done it right away."
Omri Casspi is also busy negotiating for his freedom from the Cleveland Cavaliers. Both parties are expected to negotiate up to the deadline, and Mark Stein has noted that the Houston Rockets would be a leading candidate to pursue the NBA's first Israeli-born player if he becomes available. Casspi is in the final year of his rookie contract, his cap number for this season is $2.77 million and he has averaged four points and two rebounds on 37 percent shooting over 29 games with the team this season.
Corey Maggette has scarcely been used in Detroit -- he has only played in 18 games this year and he hasn't seen the floor since Dec. 15 -- and he may still have the skills to play a bench role on a better team, but he says he's not interested in a buyout. Maggette is in the final year on his deal with the Pistons ($10.92 million), and it seems he isn't willing to take any discounts off his guaranteed money to hit the open market (via The Detroit News):
"I haven't played, it's part of what happens sometimes," Maggette said. "You know me, I've been positive about that. I haven't thought about getting a buyout."
The Milwaukee Bucks will reportedly not be seeking a buyout of the final year on Samuel Dalembert's contract, as Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports noted earlier in the week when the team suspended the veteran center for arriving late to a shootaround.
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