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Cassell denies aggressive bid for a buyout

Times Staff Writer

Sam Cassell on Thursday said he was misquoted in a recent media report saying that David Falk, his agent, is actively pursuing a buyout of the final year of his contract so the veteran point guard could sign with the Boston Celtics.

“I didn’t say that,” Cassell said on the telephone. “I think that’s disrespectful to my teammates. As of today, I’m a member of the Clippers and my job is to help the Clippers win ballgames.”

The Boston Globe reported that Falk was working on a buyout so Cassell could join a strong Celtics’ cast led by Kevin Garnett, a former teammate of Cassell’s when the pair played for the Minnesota Timberwolves. It said that at 38, Cassell is nearing the end of his career and wanting to finish it with a championship contender.

“You’ve got all the reporters jockeying for a story to write up there,” Cassell said.

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The Boston Globe stood by its story.

A buyout of the remainder of Cassell’s $6.15 million contract is unlikely because the Clippers are not willing to let him leave without gaining anything in return, according to multiple team executives.

Several contending teams have made trade inquiries about Cassell, but nothing definitive is in the works.The Clippers are believed to be waiting until the Feb. 21 trading deadline draws near and teams become more willing to deal players and draft picks.

When asked if he thought he would be a Clipper at the end of the season, Cassell simply said: “I live day by day.”

The Clippers are optimistic that if they do trade Cassell, they will get a first-round draft pick in return.

Meanwhile, a league official said they are reviewing a hard foul Cassell committed on Boston point guard Rajon Rando late in the first half of Wednesday’s loss to the Celtics.

If Cassell, ejected from the game, is fined or suspended, it will probably be announced before tonight’s game against the Toronto Raptors.

“I thought it was a hard foul, but if you know my past, I wouldn’t try to hurt anybody,” Cassell said.

“I’m disappointed that I let my teammates down, that’s what I’m disappointed in.”

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TONIGHT

at Toronto, 4 PST, Channel 5

Site -- Air Canada Centre.

Radio -- 710.

Records -- Clippers 15-31, Raptors 26-21.

Record vs. Raptors -- 0-1.

Update -- The Clippers lost to the Raptors, 80-77, on Dec. 18 at Staples Center. They last beat the Raptors in overtime in Toronto, 115-113, on Feb. 5, 2006. Raptors point guard T.J. Ford, who has sat out much of the season because of a left arm stinger, returned in a 114-82 victory over the Miami Heat on Monday.

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jonathan.abrams@latimes.com


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