The Washington Post is reporting (free registration required) that the Portland Trailblazer's buyout of Steve Francis is now complete, setting in motion the next chain of events. Francis is for the time being on waivers, where he will remain for a week. When he clears waivers, he will be a free agent.
The buyout itself is not news. Everyone knew this was going to happen from the moment the Knicks traded him to the young, loaded, trying-to-rehab-their-Jailblazer-image, owned-by-the-richer-than-the-Queen-of-England-Paul-Allen Blazers. But the amount is a bit eye-opening. The Blazers are reportedly giving Mr. Franchise $30M of the $33.6M he's owed for the next two seasons to walk away and leave them alone. Wow.
It also sets up an interesting dynamic. Check out this quote from Francis' agent, Jeff Fried. He says Francis is "looking for the right fit as opposed to the most money. He doesn't need much to be made whole."
Made whole? That's $3.6M for two years. Are you shitting me? Did Steve Francis' agent just say that his client is willing to sign for 2/$3.6M? First of all, I guarantee you he signs for more than that. Secondly, what does being made whole have to do with anything? Did he have every bit of that $33.6M allocated to cover his living expenses for the next two years, down to the penny? I mean, if we're talking about what's a reasonable amount of money to live on, the $30M seems like plenty, right? So beyond that, isn't it all about greed? Getting what you can get? I really don't see 'made whole' coming into the conversation, but that's just me.
Interestingly, this article also includes a new suitor for Francis (at least I had not noticed their name before) along with the Clippers and the Heat: the Dallas Mavericks. I gotta say, unless he just wants to join a team that has a chance at a ring and sit on the bench, I can't understand why he would go to the Mavericks. I mean, they already have Jason Terry and Devin Harris, and while I know they were a little disappointed in their point guard play in the playoffs, I don't really see Steve Francis fixing that. Are they recruiting him as a shooting guard? Or are they just stockpiling resources? Either way, it seems like a bad fit for Francis.
The risk for the Clippers is that the other veteran point guards will probably be signed before Francis clears waivers. If they don't make a move on Brevin Knight or Jason Hart or Steve Blake this week, hopefully it's because they have a verbal commitment from Francis and Fried. The Heat remain a factor at least until the Mo Williams situation plays out. Stay tuned.