Sides are far apart over Cassell’s fate

Times Staff Writer

Sam Cassell is seeking a buyout. The Clippers are more willing to accommodate a walkout.

That is the status of a festering situation involving Cassell’s aspirations of departing the Clippers, one that has reached a significant stalemate.

The organization is willing to waive Cassell if he agrees to walk away from the roughly $2.1 million still owed on his $6.1-million contract.

Cassell was adamant Wednesday, saying that if that is the case, he is not being treated fairly. And, as of now, he is unwilling to walk out on all of his remaining salary.


“I’m not doing it,” Cassell said. “I know for a fact I’ve done tremendous things for this organization. I’ve helped this organization have respectability in the city of L.A. -- at least for a year -- where everybody walked around with their chests out and they can’t tell me I didn’t.”

After Cassell guided the Clippers to within a game of the Western Conference finals two seasons ago and averaging 17.2 points and 6.3 assists, the organization re-signed him to a two-year, $13-million deal.

Little has gone right since. Cassell, 38, has been sidelined for 41 games the last two seasons for a variety of ailments and injuries.

“Obviously, we got him and he did what he was supposed to do and then we did what we were supposed to do -- we paid him,” said Coach Mike Dunleavy, who has not been involved in Cassell’s buyout discussions.

“Since then, he’s played well when he’s been healthy, but he’s been banged up a lot the last couple of years.”

Still, with the Clippers out of the hunt, Cassell wants to end the season and possibly his 15-year career with a playoff team. He has repeatedly called the lingering situation frustrating, but also said he sees Donald T. Sterling’s point of view because the owner expected his team to be competitive this season.


“If [Elton Brand], Chris [Kaman] and Shaun [Livingston] were healthy, we wouldn’t be talking about none of this,” Cassell said. “ . . . I don’t want the season-ticket holders to think that I’m bailing out, but this could be my last year.”

For Cassell to be eligible for another team, a buyout would have to be reached by Saturday.

If signed to another team, Cassell would probably receive a prorated contract of the veteran’s minimum, about $1.2 million for an entire season.

The Clippers finalized a 10-day contract for forward Nick Fazekas, a second-round selection recently waived by the Dallas Mavericks.

Fazekas spent much of the season with the Tulsa 66ers of the development league where he averaged 19.1 points and 10 rebounds.

Dunleavy said they are willing to give Fazekas an extended look.

“I don’t know if they would plan on bringing me in here for 10 days and just sitting me on the bench and not really giving me a good look,” Fazekas said. “If I get the time, I’ll go out there and try and contribute as much as I can and be the best team player I can be, and if not, I’ll be able to support my teammates on the bench.”


Cassell (sprained right wrist) sat out a fourth straight game. A sore lower back sidelined Kaman for a third consecutive game.