Wednesday , Jul , 11 , 2007 Oly Sandor

Report: Portland Trail Blazers Buy Out Steve Francis; Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, & L.A. Clippers May Have Interest In The Franchise

Reports indicate that Portland has bought-out the last two years of Steve Francis’ contract … The Franchise will get $30 million dollars from the Blazers and becomes a free agent … What NBA team will be the best fit for the flashy guard? … Click here for news and analysis …

ESPN News services reports on Steve Francis’ status:

The Knicks were happy to get Zach Randolph. The Trail Blazers were happy to clear space for Greg Oden. Steve Francis might be the happiest of all.

Multiple media outlets reported on Tuesday night that the Blazers had agreed to buy out Francis’ contract — for almost the full amount.

Portland sent Randolph, along with Fred Jones and Dan Dickau, to the Knicks for Francis and Channing Frye in a draft night trade on June 28. Almost immediately word surfaced that the Blazers would try to buy out Francis’ deal.

The Washington Post and Newsday reported on Tuesday that Portland will pay more than $30 million of the $33.6 million that the former All-Star guard is due.

"This was the definition of a win-win situation with Isiah and the Knicks getting Zach Randolph and Steve being the ultimate beneficiary in being bought out," Francis’ agent Jeff Fried said on Tuesday, according to Newsday.

According to the paper, Francis will go on the waiver wire at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday. Another team could claim him, but that franchise would be responsible for his contract. Most likely, Francis will become an unrestricted free agent in seven days.

The Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Clippers have been rumored to be interested in signing Francis. The guard’s longtime friend and former Rockets teammate Cuttino Mobley plays for the Clippers.

According to the Post, Fried said that the buyout allows his client to find the "right fit as opposed to the most money. He doesn’t need much to be made whole."

Francis averaged a career-low 11.3 points per game last year, his first full season in New York. He has career averages of 18.4 points and 6.1 assists per game. Francis made the All-Star Game from 2002-04 while with Houston.

My Quick Take: This trade worked out for all parties. was able to move Zach Randolph’s contract. was able to move Steve Francis’ contract. And Francis gets a thirty million dollar buyout and becomes a free agent.

Here’s the question: where will Francis end up?

is an option. But I think the flashy guard would have some interest in returning to the Rockets. After all, he keeps a summer home in Houston. And his former team needs a third scorer behind Yao and T-Mac.   

However, I agree with ESPN’s take-Francis will most likely join the L.A. Clippers. Yes, there’s the Cuttino Mobley factor. But the Clippers can offer him playing time because they need help at both guard spots.

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