|Wednesday, December 11
Updated: December 14, 11:27 PM ET
Rivers says 'cancer' had to be cut from team
ESPN.com news services
ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Orlando Magic released Horace Grant on Wednesday after the 15-year NBA veteran struggled to recover from offseason knee surgery and after reports of fighting between the veteran and his coach.
The 37-year-old Grant played just five games this season for the Magic. He missed 17 games with a sore left knee and one game because of back spasms. Grant averaged 5.2 points, 1.6 rebounds and 17 minutes a game.
Magic Coach Doc Rivers told ESPN's David Aldridge that he asked that Grant be released in part because Grant tried to undermine Rivers's authority with the Magic's younger players.
"The way I look at it is, you've got a cancer, it's got to be removed," Rivers told Aldridgeon Friday, before the Magic's game with Golden State.
Rivers and Grant argued on the team's plane on its way back from Chicago on Tuesday, after Grant and Tracy McGrady began arguing minutes earlier in the players' section of the plane.
After the plane landed, Rivers went to General Manager John Gabriel's home at 3 a.m. Wednesday morning and asked that Grant be released. A source says that Grant was angered at Rivers because the team claimed Rivers wanted Grant released this summer when it attempted to buy Grant out of the final year of his contract.
"We are sorry to see Horace go but honestly felt his contributions were limited,'' Orlando general manager John Gabriel said. "He's had a great career and has the championship rings to prove it.''
Grant, who has played in 1,110 NBA games, had surgery on his left knee Sept. 13. The knee has been sore and swollen throughout the season.
"Horace has had a great run,'' Magic coach Doc Rivers said. "His body just won't let him do the things he used to.''
Grant, who signed with Orlando in July 2001, averaged 8 points and 6.3 rebounds per game last season.
In his career with Chicago, Orlando, Seattle and the Los Angeles Lakers, Grant has averaged 11.5 points and 8.3 rebounds per game.
An NBA All-Star in 1994, Grant won three titles with the Bulls in the early 1990s before earning a fourth ring with the Lakers in 2001.
Grant was a member of two Atlantic Division champions and also was a part of the Eastern Conference champions in 1995 during his first stint with Orlando from 1994-99.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.