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Archive for Sunday, December 19, 2004

Mourning likely won’t ever play for Toronto

December 19, 2004

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— Alonzo Mourning won't be reporting to the Toronto Raptors next week -- and may never play for them.

Mourning, acquired from New Jersey in a trade for Vince Carter on Friday, is in Miami undergoing medical tests and will be there through Christmas, Toronto general manager Rob Babcock said Saturday.

The 34-year-old center, who underwent a kidney transplant Dec. 19, 2003, does not have to report to the Raptors or pass a physical for the trade to go through.

"We waived that because there was no way he'd probably pass a physical," Babcock said.

Mourning stopped playing earlier this month because of what he said were hip, knee, hand and leg problems. He also openly was unhappy with the Nets' offseason moves, and had demanded a trade to a contender. The Nets and Mourning discussed buying out his contract, but the two sides were too far apart.

Nets president Rod Thorn said Friday there was a chance Mourning would not report to Toronto because he wanted to play for a winner. Babcock claimed Saturday he hadn't discussed a buyout with Mourning's agent and wouldn't until his medical situation became clearer.

"He's going through a lot of medical things with his kidneys, evaluations and so forth," Babcock said, "things they do on a regular basis, and some stuff that they may have concerns with."

If Toronto does buy Mourning out, there's been speculation he could sign with the Miami Heat, his old team, if a deal can be reached. The Raptors also could trade him to the Heat.

A Heat spokesman declined to comment about a reported deal involving the teams.

Calls to Mourning's agent, Jeffrey Wechsler, were not returned.

Babcock said Mourning only was included in the trade so that the salaries would match up. Toronto also acquired forwards Aaron Williams and Eric Williams and two first-round draft picks for Carter.

"Alonzo was a secondary part of this trade," Babcock said.

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