Francis Is Free

It's official. The Portland Trail Blazers agreed to terms on a buyout with guard Steve Francis Tuesday afternoon, waiving the 29-year-old former all-star and allowing him become an unrestricted free agent. Francis is expected to easily clear waivers in seven days, since no teams have the cap room nor the desire to absorb the $34 million remaining on the final two years of his contract.

The Los Angeles Clippers are believed to be front runners for Francis's services and such a move would reunite Francis with his friend and former teammate in Houston and Orlando, Cuttino Mobley. But according to a league source, the Dallas Mavericks, Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers have also expressed interest in Francis, who has averaged 18.4 points and 6.1 assists in eight seasons.

Francis's agent, Jeff Fried, had been working diligently to free his client from the New York Knicks after a disappointing 1 ½ year stint. Francis and Channing Frye were dealt to the Trail Blazers in a draft day deal that sent Zach Randolph, Dan Dickau and Fred Jones to the Knicks. Francis is coming off the worst season of his career, with nagging injuries and an inability to mesh with Stephon Marbury and find a consistent role contributing to him averaging career lows in points (11.3), games played (44) and starts (30).

Francis came out a clear cut winner in the agreement reached with Portland on Tuesday, as he was able to collect more than $30 million in deal. Fried said the deal allows Francis to choose the "right fit as opposed to the most money. He doesn't need much to be made whole."

The buyout had been considered a foregone conclusion since the trade was consummated. Francis obviously didn't fit in with young Trail Blazers, who are building the franchise around Greg Oden, the No. 1 pick in last month's NBA draft, rookie-of-year Brandon Roy and second-year forward LaMarcus Aldridge. And, Francis famously declared that he wouldn't play in the Pacific Northwest when the Vancouver Grizzlies selected No. 2 overall out of Maryland in 1999. Francis later forced a trade to Houston, where he was co-rookie of the year and made three all-star teams in five seasons before getting dealt to Orlando in exchange for Tracy McGrady in the summer of 2004.

By Michael Lee |  July 10, 2007; 8:13 PM ET
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I hope he stays away from the the Heat...and the East in general. Not a great year last year, but there's so much talent there.

Posted by: Andy S. | July 10, 2007 8:22 PM

Stevie, we don't care....

Posted by: DC Man88 | July 10, 2007 8:35 PM

Stevie Franchise and Kobe...hmmm. It might just work. I know I would watch!

Posted by: piratelout | July 10, 2007 9:10 PM

A new post from both Ivan and Lee... awesome. Thanks guys! I appreciate all the hard work and blogging and inside scoops.

Posted by: Dante | July 10, 2007 9:15 PM

Come home Franchise, come home!!

Posted by: C.Bell | July 10, 2007 9:18 PM

Stevie can now pick whatever team wants him....he's not far behind Juwan Howard in the "highly overpaid" department. Those big paydays are finally over for him and even his agent all but admitted it.

Posted by: low | July 10, 2007 9:26 PM

Sooooo glad he's not coming to Portland!

Posted by: Blazer Fan | July 10, 2007 9:45 PM

I sure hope his game has changed if he expects to play for a contender....I've mostly known him to dribble the air out the ball.

Posted by: k-dub | July 10, 2007 10:02 PM

Stevie can still light it up when motivated and happy which he hasn't been since he got dealt from Houston. The guy's well rested and if he lands in the right situation he could be effective again. I wonder if the Zen Master could massage Stevie's ego and make him and Kobe work together in the triangle.
Bet there will be alot of recuiting going on in the next couple of weeks for Stevie's services. I just hope he lands out West so we don't have to watch him light it up in Washinton more than once a year.

Posted by: GM | July 10, 2007 10:12 PM

I hope he stays on the west coast so I don't have to see him. Period.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 10:23 PM

Mike Dunleavy's head might explode if Mobley and Francis were reunited. Elton Brand would be lucky to average 10 points a game in that scenario.

Posted by: George Templeton | July 10, 2007 10:36 PM

What a disappointing player Stevie Franchise has turned out to be. I remember being pissed when he didn't come back to Maryland for his senior season. Seems this guy has finally reached a point where he'll be nothing more than a role player.
It's a shame, I think Portland might have been able to use him to spread the court with Oden and Aldridge hanging around in the paint.

Posted by: Alex | July 10, 2007 10:55 PM

What a disappointing player Stevie Franchise has turned out to be. I remember being pissed when he didn't come back to Maryland for his senior season. Seems this guy has finally reached a point where he'll be nothing more than a role player.
It's a shame, I think Portland might have been able to use him to spread the court with Oden and Aldridge hanging around in the paint.

Posted by: Alex | July 10, 2007 10:56 PM

What idiot wrote a contract that pays that guy 34M over a 2 yr period??!! And his agent says it won't take a lot to make him "whole". That's rich!

Posted by: DS | July 10, 2007 11:29 PM

Aside from an ego spiralling out of control, Francis has reportedly had some lingering issues with his knees.

I hope Ernie has caller ID.

Posted by: kalorama | July 11, 2007 12:02 AM

Most overpaid player in the history of the league? Possibly. I wouldn't pick him up for $2m/per. I don't think he makes any team better. If someone picks him up, that's a sign of desperation.

Posted by: Justin | July 11, 2007 12:27 AM

"Most overpaid player in the history of the league? Possibly."

I think there's a new contender for that title.

"Orlando has agreed to a sign-and-trade deal with the Seattle SuperSonics that will allow Lewis to make $126.4 million over the next six seasons, according to NBA sources who requested anonymity. The Magic will send back a second-round pick to the Sonics.

With the 2007-08 salary cap set Tuesday night at $56.63 million, Lewis' first-year salary with the Magic will be $16.68 million -- the maximum allowable for a player with nine years of NBA experience. From there, he'll get 10.5 percent annual raises. That will take the deal to a mind-boggling $25.2 million for the 2012-13 season.

Posted by: kalorama | July 11, 2007 12:39 AM

ever since the end of his Houston days, Stevie would pound the rock thru the floor for 23 out of the 24 second clock and then hoist up a 3 pointer 2 out of 3 times down the floor. pathetic to even have called him stevie franchise!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 11, 2007 12:45 AM

Kalorama you are right... i have to think that that was an incredibly boneheaded move by orlando... probably worst move off the offseason so far in the league.

Posted by: Dante | July 11, 2007 12:46 AM

Its an even worse move for Orlando when you considered they renounced the rights to Milicic and they gave up a first rounder in the deal to get him. I guess they believe Lewis and Howard is enough to win the East. We'll see.

Posted by: George Templeton | July 11, 2007 1:03 AM


Posted by: 醉生梦死 | July 11, 2007 1:28 AM

Along with a 5 yr 85m dollar extension to Howard that's alot of money to spend in a couple of days.
But the winner for the worst contract could end up being Milicic if he ends up getting 50m like some of the rumors are saying he might. Based on what he's done so far, that's alot of money to tie up in him. Orlando spent a number one and ended up renting him for a half season after Detroit used the second pick in the draft and was willing to ship him out.
I'd have to wonder what's going on that people that have gotten an up close look are ready to right him off so quickly. Seeing Stucky play in the LV summer league the other night I'd say Dummars made a decent recovery of his mistake of picking Milicic. And for the next couple of years Stucky will be cheaper too.

Posted by: GM | July 11, 2007 2:06 AM

I hope steve can back to Houston to be the leader of both court and changerroom again.He needs the home.Where is home?Houston!The city where dream can be continued.The triangle of Yao-Tmac-Steve! Oh,it's a dynasty!

Posted by: ChinaLee | July 11, 2007 2:31 AM

How could it be "offical" when the trade that sent him to Portland is not yet official?

Where's the Blazer press release or league notice of waiver that makes it official?

Posted by: mrwonderfull | July 11, 2007 2:33 AM

i like Francis,esp his dunk

Posted by: ALPHA | July 11, 2007 3:30 AM

Is he called Stevie Franchise because he's been dumped by every franchise in the league? I hear that the Euro leagues are making a pre-emptive strike and offering him $20 million to not play in their league.

Posted by: Hotplate | July 11, 2007 7:38 AM

ChinaLee, if Stevie goes back to Houston Yao will never see the ball with Stevie pounding that rock back and forth. TMac might then swat him like the fly that he is. Dumbest thing I've ever heard.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 11, 2007 8:16 AM

Read this morning in the Post that the Stevenson talks are at an impasse, Stevenson wants 4 yrs. 18m. I wonder how long Grunfeld will leave the 4 yr 16m on the table?
I can't see the Wizards going higher than the have already, they've made him a fair offer and rewarded him for playing solidly last year. I'd really think Grunfeld will break off talks and go in another direction.
I 'd think that if Stevenson goes else where that would increase the chances of holding onto Navarro. I don't think that we'd go into the season starting Young.
I also noticed that ESPN has Jarvis Hayes listed as an unrestricted FA. Did the Wizards pass a deadline to offer him a qualifying deal. I'd have thought the Post would have at least mentioned it, but I haven't seen anything. Is he now a unrestricted FA or is that a mistake by ESPN?

Posted by: GM | July 11, 2007 8:30 AM

"Most overpaid player in the history of the league? Possibly."

If you figure games per dollar Grant Hill contract is a clear winner. While not bad when signed it looked horrible for the amount of games he actually played in.

As for Steve Francis he played at 2 or 3 high schools, atleast 2 or 3 aau teams, 2 JC, 1 college, 4 or 5 nba teams have owned his rights. Just seems like the type of person that is in need of constant change. The grass is always green on the other side of the road.

Posted by: pg posse | July 11, 2007 10:12 AM

Stevie signed that contract at a point when he was one of only a handful of guys averaging 20-5-5, so there was a point when he was at least earning his money. And the only reason his numbers have dipped is because he got traded to a team where he was a terrible fit. No one outside of MSG thought that he and Marbury could play together, and this is coming from someone who likes both players.

I know it goes against the fine tradition of resentment and bitterness among American sports fans, but I actually feel bad for Stevie. He's gotten a bad rap over the years I think. While its true that he does dominate the ball too much to be a really effective PG, but I don't see how that makes him a bad guy. in fact Steve Francis has been criticized for doing things we say we want from other players. We say we hate to hear guys make trade demands, but Stevie was practically begging not to be dealt out of Houston. He was criticized. Kobe is public enemy #1 because people think he got Shaq traded, but Stevie was very public (almost weirdly so) about not wanting the magic to trade Mobley. And again, Stevie gets criticized. He was blamed for Houston's inability to advance in the playoffs, but how far have the Rockets gotten since he left? And while he gets knocked for complaining his way out of Vancouver, it was only a few seasons later when the entire NBA said 'Hey, we don't want to be here either.' So in that sense, he was a trendsetter.

Personally, I'd like to see him go the Spurs. He'd make an excellent 3rd guard behind Parker and Ginobli, and would be a dynamite scorer off the bench for them.

Posted by: Southern_Dandy | July 11, 2007 10:16 AM

Francis has behaved like a spoiled brat at every stop in the NBA. Now it's gotten to the point where people are paying him to go away.

Posted by: kalorama | July 11, 2007 11:27 AM

Wow, steve francis had an awful year in NY. It doesn't help that he had an injury plagued year. As a point guard i like stevie but i wonder if the SG position would fit him better( similiar to Wade and AI). People are coming down hard on Steve, Lets not forget he sacrificed his game in houston to get Yao Ming more involved in the offense(only 16 pts per game?)and didn't mind coming off the bench in NY.He has his faults but no1 is perfect. I thought the magic had a winning team until they f'up and traded mobley for doug christie's wife.(they were #1 in east. conf.) . I hope francis still has some left in his tank and lands in the right environment.

Posted by: Mingo | July 11, 2007 11:36 AM

Steve Francis paid $30 million to go away? Sounds like a few years ago, when EMI paid Mariah Carey $28 million to go away.

Draw your own conclusions here _____________.

Posted by: iceberg | July 11, 2007 11:38 AM

I could care less about Francis and I'm a UMD alum.

I thought he was selfish at Maryland, and that was evident when he got drafted.

Who cares.

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | July 11, 2007 11:39 AM

I think it's sad that players aren't embarrassed to be bought out like this. I'm glad he was, because I think it's worth some of Paul's hard-earned dough to keep this guy from destroying the team next year. But man... Calling it "Win-Win?" It's a slap in the face, saying you'd rather spend $30 Million than let this guy play for your team for even a second.

Francis, and guys like Webber, just don't seem to have any pride in their game. That's why they don't win championships.

Posted by: Jim | July 11, 2007 11:52 AM

No Love for Stevie
Modern Day Hot Potatoe
30 mil is nice

Posted by: WaPoLiveFan16 | July 11, 2007 12:00 PM

I'm a big Francis fan and I think in the right enviornment he can get his game back on track. But if we're talking about most overpaid players, I'd have to go with Kevin Garnett. He's eating off of 2 contracts that total well over 200 million and all he can get them is to the 1st rnd of the playoffs. And as much as he complains about management building a team around him, you never hear him trying to take a paycut to help his own cause.

Posted by: C.Bell | July 11, 2007 12:17 PM

Yo Mike - Have you heard anything around the league on Blanche (AB)? I still trying to get something from Ivan, but I guess he is working on it? Thanks....

Posted by: mikie | July 11, 2007 1:09 PM

"Most overpaid player in the history of the league? Possibly."

Lewis for $21 million/year is ludicrous, but my vote for most overpaid player in NBA history goes to Jon Koncak, a reserve center for the Atlanta Hawks who inked a deal in '89 that was worth $13 million over 6 years. Seems like small potatoes, but consider this: he was a reserve who made more money than MJ, Bird and Magic. Dumbest deal ever.

Posted by: slimkid | July 11, 2007 1:33 PM

Will be interesting to see if Portland can pull off building a team that has talent AND character. That explains the buyout. They weren't ever going to let a cancer like Francis near Oden, Aldridge, Roy and they other young guys they have.

Posted by: BobbyG | July 11, 2007 2:45 PM

stop hating on francis hes 6'3 and can dunk over all your favorite players

Posted by: jtest | July 11, 2007 4:43 PM

stop hating on francis hes 6'3 and can dunk over all your favorite players

Posted by: jtest | July 11, 2007 4:43 PM

If the Blazers are interested in a team with good character, they need to get working on a deal to get rid of Darius miles.

Posted by: kalorama | July 11, 2007 5:49 PM

The joke with stevie is that he never graduated from UMd, so he's not an alum, and even worse is Gary retired his number even though his team lost to Duke 3 times during his only season at college park. I guess stevie's $$$ donation convinced them to retire his jersey.

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