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Stranger
01-30-2008, 09:43 PM
Agent: Stoudamire will sign with Spurs after clearing waivers
By Marc Stein
ESPN.com
(Archive)
Updated: January 30, 2008, 10:31 PM ET

Damon Stoudamire informed the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday that he will be signing with them later this week, according to his agent.

Aaron Goodwin told ESPN.com that Stoudamire, who will clear waivers and become a free agent Thursday at 10 p.m. ET after his buyout from the Memphis Grizzlies, has committed to join the Spurs after also considering the Phoenix Suns and the Toronto Raptors, with whom Stoudamire won NBA Rookie of the Year honors in the 1995-96 season.

Once he officially becomes a free agent, Stoudamire will join San Antonio for a pro-rated share of the $1.2 million veteran minimum. That computes to roughly $545,000 if Stoudamire spends the rest of the season with the defending champions.

It was not immediately clear if Stoudamire will be signed in time to play Thursday night in Phoenix against the Suns, but San Antonio definitely has an immediate need for reinforcements in the backcourt. Tony Parker has been ordered by Spurs coach Gregg Popovich to sit indefinitely to rest a heel injury that, according to Popovich, has reduced the reigning NBA Finals MVP to "60 or 70 percent [capacity] for about a month."

The Spurs' Big Three of Parker, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan have all missed time with injuries during the first half of the season, contributing to an 11-13 slump since their 17-3 start that had dropped San Antonio to sixth in the West entering Wednesday's play. The Spurs have also lost the first two of nine games on their annual "Rodeo Road Trip," which has historically sparked their trademark second-half surge.

Stoudamire initially expressed strong interest in joining the Boston Celtics as a veteran counterpart to second-year playmaker Rajon Rondo, but it appears that the Celtics are banking on the future availability of Los Angeles Clippers guard Sam Cassell. It's widely expected that the Clippers will consent to buying out Cassell if they can't move him before the Feb. 21 trading deadline and Cassell remains close to this day with Celtics forward Kevin Garnett after their time together in Minnesota.

The Suns wanted Stoudamire -- who played collegiately in the area for Arizona -- as the reliable backup to Steve Nash they've been seeking for years. Stoudamire was also intrigued by the idea of playing behind Jose Calderon in a coming-full-circle return to the Raptors, who have been forced to look for a third point guard because of T.J. Ford's ongoing injury absence.

San Antonio will be hoping that Stoudamire's arrival will enable them to bring Parker back slowly, with the hope of getting him fully healed in time for the playoffs. The 34-year-old hasn't played in a game since Dec. 30, after Memphis made a commitment to give the bulk of its backcourt minutes to rookie Mike Conley and Spanish newcomer Juan Carlos Navarro.

Marc Stein is the senior NBA writer for ESPN.com. To e-mail him, click here.

Link (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=3223023)

Stranger
01-30-2008, 09:50 PM
Mods: I missed the Stoudamire mention in the Parker thread. This can probably be moved to that thread.