Kings buy out Gooden's contract

The Sacramento Kings have reached a buyout agreement with Drew Gooden in time for the forward to be eligible for the playoffs with another team.

Gooden was formally waived by the Kings shortly after 11 p.m. ET on Sunday night. He had to be released by 11:59 p.m. to be playoff-eligible for his next employer. Gooden was due $7.1 million in the final season of his contract.

San Antonio and Dallas are among the teams that will be chasing Gooden hardest this week, sources said, with the Cleveland Cavaliers expected to land the other prominent veteran who reached a buyout agreement Sunday night: Oklahoma City's Joe Smith.

Both Smith and Gooden are expected to clear waivers Wednesday. The Kings acquired Gooden from Chicago on the eve of the Feb. 19 trade deadline in a deal that sent Brad Miller and John Salmons to the Bulls.

Gooden played his only game with the Kings last Wednesday, getting 12 points and 13 rebounds against Charlotte before leaving the court in pain in the fourth quarter. Gooden has been slowed by a groin injury for six weeks, and hadn't played for Chicago since Jan. 19.

Marc Stein is a senior NBA writer for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.