Webber not expected to be waived before Thursday

NEW YORK -- Chris Webber's buyout was close to being finalized Wednesday night, but he was not expected to be waived before Thursday -- meaning he won't be free to sign elsewhere until Monday.

"It's close," Philadelphia general manager Billy King said at halftime of the 76ers' 106-99 loss to the New York Knicks. "You've got to do an amendment to the contract, let the league see it, then get the signatures."

It takes two business days for a player to clear waivers, which means teams around the NBA will have to wait through the weekend for Webber to clear waivers and become a free agent. Dallas, Miami, New York, San Antonio, Detroit and Phoenix have been mentioned as possible future destinations for Webber.

"I think he's been a total pro, done everything we've asked of him," King said. "This allows us to go in a different direction. Now I think there's clarity for the organization."

Webber reportedly agreed to a $5 million reduction in his contract, which pays him $20.7 million this season and $22.3 million next season. The buyout allowed the 76ers to drop below the league's luxury tax threshold of $65.4 million.

"I wish the 76ers organization the best and I thank the fans for their support during my time in Philadelphia," Webber said in a statement. "I appreciate [team owner] Ed Snider and Billy King for their cooperation with the buyout of my contract. I believe this is the best situation for both parties and I look forward to continuing my basketball career."

Webber was acquired by the Sixers from Sacramento in February 2005 as part of a six-player deal. He has been derailed by right ankle and foot injuries this season, appearing in only 18 of 35 games. He is averaging 11.0 points and 8.3 rebounds in 30.2 minutes and had career averages of 21.6 points and 10.1 rebounds entering this season.

"He was a great teammate," Kyle Korver said after the Knicks
beat the Sixers 106-99 on Wednesday night. "I'm going to miss him
a lot. I wish I could have played with him more. He's a great
person and if he gets put in the right spot he's going to do really
well somewhere."

Chris Sheridan covers the NBA for ESPN Insider. The Associated Press contributed to this report.