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Magic waive Hardaway after trade

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Orlando Magic waived guard Penny Hardaway on Friday, two days after the team acquired his hefty contract from the New York Knicks.

The Magic dealt three-time All-Star Steve Francis for Hardaway and Trevor Ariza before Thursday's trading deadline. Orlando re-signed Bo Outlaw to fill the extra roster spot.

The move to waive Hardaway was expected. Assistant general manager Otis Smith said the salary cap room freed up by Hardaway's $15.8 million contract, along with the expiring contract of aging All-Star Grant Hill, would make the Magic a major free agent player
in 2007.

Though Hardaway began his perennial All-Star career in Orlando, he was blamed for Brian Hill's first dismissal as Magic coach with 33 games left in the 1996-97 season. Hill, the franchise's winningest coach, rejoined the team in May.

Orlando dealt Hardaway to Phoenix in 1999, but he never regained the form that made him one of the league's top players.

Hardaway battled knee injuries, averaging 2.5 points and two
assists in just four games this season for the Knicks. Last season
he averaged 7.3 points in 37 games. He hasn't averaged in double
figures since putting up 10.6 points and four assists per game for
the Suns in the 2002-2003.

Being waived will give Hardaway more time to get healthy, his
agent Lapoe Smith said.

"Penny played a lot of times when his body wasn't nowhere near
80 percent," Smith said. "We respect Orlando for giving us the
opportunity to waive us, so we don't have to go over there and deal
with that stress -- fans booing, wondering about how many millions
he's making.

"Penny Hardaway will play again in the NBA. There's no question
about that."

Hardaway has spent most of this season working out on his own in
Houston.

A week before the Francis deal, Orlando sent center Kelvin Cato and a first-round draft pick to the Detroit Pistons for former No. 2 overall pick Darko Milicic and Carlos Arroyo.