Monday , Feb , 21 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

Mourning to Miami on hold for now

Miami, FL (Sports Network) – The Miami Heat’s inevitable signing of Alonzo
Mourning is on hold. However, the veteran center should be wearing a Heat
uniform by the end of the week.

Mourning was expected to sign with the Heat on Monday and accompany them on
their road trip coming out of the All-Star break, but the Miami Herald
reported that the signing could be delayed until Thursday’s trade deadline, as
the team weighs their options on how to clear the roster spot necessary to
sign the former All-Star.

The delay could also mean that the Heat are working on a deal to open a roster
spot for Mourning.

Mourning, who underwent a kidney transplant in December of 2003, became
available back on February 11 when the Toronto Raptors reached an agreement
with him to buy out the remaining two years of his contract, thus clearing
the way for him to become a free agent.

Toronto acquired Mourning in mid-December along with forward Eric Williams,
forward/center Aaron Williams and two conditional first-round draft picks from
the New Jersey Nets in exchange for All-Star swingman Vince Carter.

However, Mourning refused to report to Toronto and has spent most of his time
since the trade at his home in Miami. He has not played since December 7. In
18 contests with the Nets this season, he averaged 10.4 points and 7.1
rebounds per game.

New Jersey signed the free agent Mourning to a four-year, $22 million contract
prior to the 2003-04 campaign, but his time with the Nets that season lasted
only 12 games because of a condition known as focal glomerulosclerosis. He
was forced to stop playing on November 25, 2003 and underwent a kidney
transplant less than a month later.

The 6-10 center was picked second overall by the Charlotte Hornets in the
1992 NBA Draft. He was then traded along with LeRon Ellis and Pete Myers to
Miami on November 3, 1995 for Glen Rice, Khalid Reeves, Matt Geiger and a
1996 first-round draft choice.

The 35-year-old Mourning twice received Defensive Player of the Year honors
(1999 and 2000) with the Heat. He did not play for Miami in 2002-03 because of
the kidney disorder.

Mourning is a seven-time All-Star who owns career averages of 19.8 points and
9.6 rebounds.