Spurs may want Stoudamire when he becomes available

Updated: January 28, 2008, 8:51 PM ET
By Chris Sheridan | ESPN.com

Damon Stoudamire's buyout with the Memphis Grizzlies is complete, but it is no longer a virtual certainty that he'll be joining the Boston Celtics on Thursday.

That is because the San Antonio Spurs have changed the equation.

Sources tell ESPN.com that San Antonio will make a push to sign the 12-year veteran when he becomes a free agent. Buyout talks dragged through the day Monday before being finalized early in the evening, and Stoudamire now cannot officially be waived until 10 a.m. EST Tuesday.

"I'm keeping it all suspenseful," Stoudamire said Monday evening when reached on his cell phone. "I'm trying to get it all figured out, trying to see what's best for myself and my family."

Stoudamire cannot sign with anyone for 48 hours until he clears waivers, and sources have said he was leaning heavily toward joining the Celtics. But if Stoudamire feels Boston's interest is lukewarm, a number of other teams could quickly emerge in the battle to become Stoudamire's next destination.

In addition to the Spurs, the Orlando Magic have made their interest known in recent days. Other teams in the mix are the Phoenix Suns and Denver Nuggets, but the Toronto Raptors as not as viable an option as has been reported.

Damon Stoudamire

Stoudamire

In fact, ESPN.com has learned, the Raptors put together a trade package earlier this season that would have landed Stoudamire, but later withdrew it.

Stoudamire would seem to be the best fit for the Celtics, who have no true point guard backing up starter Rajon Rondo, and who could use an experienced floor general with 46 career playoff games under his belt. But Boston -- especially star forward Kevin Garnett -- could be more enamored of the possibility of acquiring Sam Cassell.

A source close to Cassell, however, said Clippers owner Donald Sterling is dead set against trading Cassell or offering him a buyout because he still believes the Clippers are capable of making the playoffs.

The next 24-48 hours will tell whether the Celtics are going to settle on Stoudamire or make the risky move of holding out in the hope of acquiring Cassell or someone else.

"We appreciate the consummate professionalism and love for the game which Damon exhibited in Memphis," Chris Wallace, Grizzlies vice president of basketball operations and general manager, said in a prepared statement. "The entire organization wishes him the best and hopes that he realizes his wish to join a championship contending team."

Stoudamire was not in the club's locker room before the game.

"I miss him. I really do," Memphis coach Marc Iavaroni said before the game. "He's been a positive influence. He and I had a very straightforward relationship from Day One."

Chris Sheridan covers the NBA for ESPN Insider. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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