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Cassell back, but contract up in air

wire services
Published October 7, 2004

COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. - Sam Cassell practiced jump shots at the end of practice Wednesday, looking right at home among his Timberwolves teammates.

But Cassell was a day late for training came at St. John's University and the 34-year-old guard skipped the team's media day and first day of workouts earlier this week because he was unhappy about not getting a contract extension.

Charles Tucker, Cassell's agent, wouldn't comment when asked if the Wolves did anything to address Cassell's unhappiness, other than to say the former Florida State star "has a better understanding" of the team's plans for him. Cassell said talks were moving in the right direction.

Cassell's contract calls for him to be paid $5.65-million this season and $6.1-million next season. He said that's not fair market value for a point guard of his caliber. He blames the problem on a former agent when he played for the New Jersey Nets, and said the issue continues to plague him and accounts for his frequent trades.

"I won't be satisfied until I get what I deserve," he said. "It's going good; that's why I'm in camp. ... My number is so low, it won't be something they've got to think about."

CAVALIERS: LeBron James had a good reason for missing practice Wednesday. He became a father. The star guard and his longtime girlfriend, a 19-year-old Akron woman, had a baby boy. James, who turns 20 in December, left training camp in Columbus to be with her and his new son. He was expected to rejoin the team today.

HORNETS: All-Star center Jamaal Magloire said "no comment" when asked if he was happy to be playing for New Orleans. Along with Baron Davis, that makes two All-Stars - the only two on the team - who are talking as if they're losing faith in team management and would prefer to play somewhere else.

"They're not looking out for our best interest and sooner or later I'm going to have to look out for my best interest," Magloire said after practice. "Until then, I'll continue to play hard and do what ever coach asks me to do."

Davis earlier said he was disappointed the Hornets failed to sign "a big-time free agent" to replace former All-Star Jamal Mashburn.

SIXERS: Center Samuel Dalembert, the NBA's only Haitian player, will donate $20,000 to help his country recover from Hurricane Jeanne. The league will match Dalembert's contribution and 76ers coach Jim O'Brien will add $1,000 for a total donation of $41,000, which will be given to the Red Cross.

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