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mavs413
02-13-2004, 01:08 PM
Associated Press
BOSTON -- The Boston Celtics put Vin Baker on waivers Friday, the next step in releasing the suspended former all-star from a contract that would pay him $36 million over the next 2 seasons.

Baker was suspended indefinitely on Jan. 23 for violating a testing program he agreed to last season when he left the team to check into alcohol rehab. He missed his 10th consecutive game on Thursday night, triggering a clause in the agreement that would allow the Celtics to release him.

By placing him on waivers, the Celtics initiated the process of terminating his contract. Unless another team claims him before Wednesday morning -- a slim possibility -- they can release him.

"Until the waiver process runs its course, the team will refrain from further comment on this matter," Celtics spokesman Bill Bonsiewicz said in a statement posted on the team's Web site.

Any move is expected to be contested by the players' association, and it could wind up in arbitration. A spokesman for the NBPA did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Baker's spokesman, Jay Nkonoki, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Saving Baker's salary wouldn't allow the Celtics to be a player on the free agent market, but it could keep them out of luxury tax range.

Baker missed two months and the playoffs last season after he checked into a Connecticut rehab center. He agreed at the time to follow an aftercare program this season and submit to frequent testing.

But Baker failed to comply with the terms of the agreement at least three times before he was suspended indefinitely last month. The agreement dictated that only the doctor overseeing Baker's care could determine when he's ready to return, but after the suspension reached 10 games, that authority would transfer to the team.

In a statement issued late Thursday, Baker said he had done everything required of him to remain in compliance with his program and awaited clearance to play again.

"I am surprised and disappointed that I have not been cleared to play as of today, but I remain optimistic knowing I have gone above and beyond what has been asked of me during my absence," he said. "My representatives have and will continue to communicate with team officials on my behalf, until I am reinstated."

Celtics boss Danny Ainge said the decision was in the hands of the team's attorneys.

"All I know at some point Vin could come back and at some point he could not," Ainge said Thursday night in Chicago, where the Celtics lost to the Bulls to fall to 23-31 on the season.

Baker's agent, Aaron Goodwin, has not returned repeated calls seeking comment.

The 6-foot-11 Baker was the eighth overall pick by the Milwaukee Bucks in the 1993 draft. He averaged 21 points and 10 rebounds over his last two seasons in Milwaukee before he was traded to Seattle for the 1997-98 season.

His first season in Seattle showed only slight drop-off, and he was good enough to be picked for the 2000 U.S. Olympic team. But by the time the Sydney games came around, his play had deteriorated to the point where he was rarely used.

Baker, who said he began binge drinking during the 1998-99 lockout, was suspended Feb. 27, 2003, and didn't play again last season. But after treatment he returned in better shape and determined to make it up to his teammates.

He scored in double figures in 21 of his first 35 games, but then his production dropped off again. He totaled just 12 points in four games before being suspended for three games, then played in just two of the next five games before being suspended again.

Jamisonite
02-13-2004, 02:00 PM
So if a team picks up baker they gotta pay his contract?...why not wait til they release him and pay him the minimum

MikeB
02-13-2004, 02:05 PM
Vin Baker will definitely clear waivers. I doubt anyone picks him up after that because of his alcohol problems.

ddh33
02-13-2004, 02:18 PM
Watch the Knicks go after him.

I hope he gets his life together. I thought he was a very good player once. I'll be rooting for him.

XERXES
02-13-2004, 02:45 PM
Do the Mavs have any interest? I know it's a big gamble...but Cuban's a gambler...


Either way, I hope he pulls it together.

Simon2
02-13-2004, 06:19 PM
Seems like he had it going early in the season. Too bad.


Originally posted by: XERXES
Do the Mavs have any interest? I know it's a big gamble...but Cuban's a gambler...


Either way, I hope he pulls it together.

OutletPass
02-13-2004, 06:23 PM
Forget basketball. I really hope Vin can get sober for himself and his family.....that disease kills.

mavsfanforever
02-14-2004, 08:38 AM
It is not worth the gamble. This disease as OP pointed is not worth the gamble. And I have no reason to think Vin will be a force in the west, heck he had only a few good games in the eastern conference. Its been a while since Vin had done anything.