The Washington Wizards bought out the remainder of guard Chucky Atkins’ contract yesterday, enabling him to sign with a new team for the rest of the season.
“Chucky is a veteran player who is in the last year of his contract,” Wizards president of basketball operations Ernie Grunfeld said. “He has been a real professional, and this will allow him an opportunity to look for a situation that will give him the playing time that he desires.”
Memphis, Detroit and Houston reportedly have expressed the most interest in Atkins, who was owed approximately $2.8 smillion before the buyout. Any team that signs him before he clears waivers tomorrow would have to accommodate his 2005-06 salary of $4.8 million. After that, however, he can be signed for the veteran’s minimum.
The amount of the buyout is unknown.
“I think it’s a win-win for both sides,” said Atkins’ agent, Andy Miller. “We are grateful for the opportunity that we had in Washington, and now they will get the chance to do what they want to do, and we’re looking forward to opportunities. Most importantly, Chucky needs to get with a team where he can play a specific role.”
Atkins was acquired with Caron Butler from the Los Angeles Lakers in the Kwame Brown deal. He started all 82 games for the Lakers during the 2004-05 season but wasn’t going to get much playing time behind Gilbert Arenas this season.
The six-year veteran was averaging just 19.7 minutes and 6.7 points for the Wizards. He also was hitting just 37.9 percent of his shots from the floor. Additionally, the Wizards have been giving minutes to rookie free agent guard Donell Taylor lately.
As a result of his lack of playing time, Atkins told The Washington Times earlier this season he wanted to be traded.
He missed Washington’s last five games. The first four were so he could be with his wife, who gave birth to a son, but he was inactive for the team’s win over Philadelphia on Monday.