Clips' Cassell says he's unhappy with losing, but not seeking buyout
The Boston Globe reported Cassell was trying to buy out his contract so he could play for the Eastern Conference-leading Celtics. Cassell, averaging 13.1 points and a team-leading 4.5 assists in 34 games, is earning $6.1 million this season -- the final year of his contract.
"There's no truth to it," Cassell said by telephone from Toronto, where the Clippers play Friday night. "I never said I wanted to buy out my contract. There have been no negotiations, the team hasn't come to me about that, I have not gone to them about that."
The 38-year-old Cassell had 10 points and three assists in the Clippers' 111-100 loss to the Celtics in Boston on Wednesday night.
"They misquoted me drastically," Cassell said of the report. "It's just not right for my teammates to hear I'd be a perfect fit in Boston."
The Globe said late Thursday night all the Cassell quotes were accurate.
Cassell referred to television coverage of the published report.
"That's not what I said," Cassell said. "The reporter said I'd be a perfect fit in Boston. I'm still a member of the Los Angeles Clippers and I want to win as many games as possible with the Clippers. I'm not happy that we're losing, but I have a lot of good teammates on this ballclub that I really enjoy being around."
Mark J. Spears, the Globe reporter who quoted Cassell, said "I stand by my story. I have the entire interview on tape and after talking to me on Wednesday morning, he was quoted saying similar things to other Boston media outlets."
Cassell said he'd probably like to play one more season before retiring.
Cassell, a member of NBA championship teams in Houston in 1994-95, has said on several occasions he'd like to go into coaching when his playing career is over.
The Clippers (15-31) have played without injured star forward Elton Brand and outstanding young point guard Shaun Livingston all season because of injuries. They hope to get both back before season's end, but it's a virtual certainty that won't be enough to help them contend for a playoff berth because of the outstanding competition in the Western Conference.
With Brand and Cassell leading the way, the Clippers beat Denver in the first round of the 2006 playoffs before losing to Phoenix in the second round. They were eliminated from playoff contention on the final day last season.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press