The Trail Blazers bought out Steve Francis's contract yesterday, handing the guard roughly $30 million of the $33.6 million due for his remaining two years. Portland acquired the 30-year-old former All-Star in a deal with the Knicks, who dished out Francis and Channing Frye for Zach Randolph, Dan Dickau, and Fred Jones on draft night.
The Blazers, who nabbed No. 1 pick Greg Oden on June 28, were unimpressed by Francis's past year, in which the veteran put up a career-nadir 11.3 PPG with 3.9 assists for New York. Twenty-fourth
draftee Rudy Fernandez was also shipped off to the Beaver State with teammate James Jones yesterday; Phoenix jettisoned the two in exchange for $3 million.