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Blazers and Shawn Kemp officially part ways

Portland, OR (Sports Network) - The Portland Trail Blazers restructured the contract of troubled forward Shawn Kemp and waived him on Tuesday.

"First of all, I want to thank Shawn for his fairness during this process," said general manager Bob Whitsitt. "The organization pursued this course of action because we didnít feel the contract between the team and the player was financially fair given todayís NBA economic climate. This restructuring allows us to reduce our commitment to the player in a way that was fair and equitable to both parties. I know that Shawn is happy with the outcome and is looking forward to his future in the NBA."

Although the final terms of the restructured contract have yet to be announced, Portland could wind up saving at least $40 million in NBA luxury taxes.

The 33-year-old Kemp, who broke into the league in 1989 with Seattle, inked a seven-year, $107 million deal in 1997 before he was traded from the SuperSonics to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

In the past few years though, Kemp has battled substance abuse problems and entered a drug rehabilitation center for cocaine use in April of 2001 towards the end of his first year with Portland. He returned last season, but was suspended for five games in February for failing to comply with his aftercare program.

In his 13-year career, the six-time All-Star has averaged 15.2 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. However, in the last two season he has averaged just 6.3 points and 3.8 boards per game.

"I would like to thank the Blazers, Paul Allen and the fans of Portland for their support," said Kemp. "I expect to continue my NBA career at the highest level and am looking forward to the challenge ahead."

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