When the New Jersey Nets decided they didn’t want Shareef Abdur-Rahim, the Sacramento Kings eagerly grabbed him.

The Kings signed Abdur-Rahim to a multi-year contract Friday, three days after the Nets rescinded a trade with the Portland Trail Blazers because of medical concerns about the nine-year veteran’s right knee.

The Kings, who bid for the free agent’s services earlier in the summer, wasted no time reasserting their interest. They quickly closed a deal, locking up a 28-year-old power forward who has racked up impressive statistics and made plenty of money, but never reached the playoffs.

“The biggest thing for me was trying to get on a team that had a chance to win and win big,” Abdur-Rahim said. “That’s what I want to try and do for the rest of my career. The guys that are already here are accustomed to winning and competing at a high level. I’m looking forward to coming in and being a part of it. It’s a nice fit for me here.”

Abdur-Rahim, who made more than $14 million last season in Portland, took a pay cut to join the Kings, who have made the postseason seven straight times and won 50 games in five straight seasons. Because the Kings already are over the salary cap, he is expected to be paid the NBA’s midlevel exception, worth about $5 million next season.

Abdur-Rahim has averaged 19.9 points and 8.1 rebounds in a career with Vancouver, Atlanta and Portland.

Timberwolves send Cassell to Clippers

MINNEAPOLIS – The Minnesota Timberwolves traded aging point guard Sam Cassell and a conditional first-round draft pick to the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night for guards Marko Jaric and Lionel Chalmers.

The deal ends a two-year, up-and-down stint in Minnesota for Cassell, who helped lead the team to the Western Conference finals in 2003-04 after arriving in a trade with Milwaukee. But Cassell began to wear out his welcome last season, complaining about his lack of a contract extension when training camp started and then struggling through an injury-plagued season at age 35 while averaging 13.5 points and 5.1 assists in 59 games. The Wolves missed the playoffs for the first time since 1996.

Jaric, a 6-foot-7 guard from Serbia-Montenegro, was a restricted free agent who was signed by the Clippers before the trade. He averaged a career-high 9.9 points, 6.1 assists and 33.1 minutes.


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