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Celtics Terminate Baker Contract

February 18, 2004

BOSTON (AP) _ The Celtics released Vin Baker on Wednesday after the forward cleared waivers following his suspension for violating the terms of his alcohol aftercare program.

The team announced on its Web site that Baker’s contract had been terminated and he is now a free agent. The National Basketball Players’ Association had said it would file a grievance over any attempt to avoid paying the $36 million the former All-Star is owed over the next 2 1/2 years.

The team placed Baker on waivers after he missed the 10th straight game of his latest suspension for violating the terms of his alcohol rehabilitation aftercare agreement. That triggered a clause in the agreement that gave the Celtics control over his future.

Baker missed two months and the playoffs last year after he checked into a Connecticut rehab center. He agreed at the time to a follow-up program this season that would involve frequent testing.

Baker failed to comply with the terms of the agreement at least three times before being suspended indefinitely Jan. 23. The agreement dictated that only the doctor agreed to by both sides could determine when he is ready to return. After the suspension reached 10 games, that authority transferred to the team.

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