Sacramento, Calif. The Sacramento Kings waived Drew Gooden on Sunday night, freeing the recently acquired forward to join a contending team for the playoff run.
Sacramento agreed to an undisclosed buyout of Gooden’s $7.1 million salary in the final season of his contract Sunday night, doing it just before the NBA’s deadline to make sure Gooden would be eligible for a postseason roster.
The Kings made the move to save even more money, allowing the best player they acquired during a flurry of trade-deadline deals to walk away from the last-place club. Sacramento acquired Gooden in a six-player trade with the Chicago Bulls 11 days ago, giving up Brad Miller and John Salmons for three players with expiring contracts and forward Andres Nocioni.
Gooden played his only game with the Kings last Wednesday, getting 12 points and 13 rebounds against Charlotte before leaving the court in pain in the fourth quarter. Gooden has been slowed by a groin injury for six weeks, and hadn’t played for Chicago since Jan. 19.
The Cleveland Cavaliers, Gooden’s former team, could be among the suitors for the Northern California native and former Kansas University forward.