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Error Costs Anthony Carter $4.1 Million

Associated Press

Tuesday, July 8, 2003; 5:57 PM

MIAMI - Anthony Carter's representatives mistakenly failed to exercise a player option that would have allowed him to make $4.1 million with the Miami Heat next season.

Heat spokesman Tim Donovan said Tuesday that Carter didn't invoke an "opt-in" clause by July 1, which leaves Carter a free agent. The move could also mean Carter's salary for the upcoming season will be about one-sixth of what he would have made with Miami.

Agent Bill Duffy told ESPN.com Monday that one of his employees mishandled the situation but said he's optimistic "an honorable solution" can be reached with the Heat. Duffy did not return several telephone messages left Tuesday by The Associated Press.

Carter's apparent loss is Miami's salary-cap gain, since the Heat now can spend what would have been his salary on free agents.

Donovan said Heat officials, including coach Pat Riley and general manager Randy Pfund, would not publicly address free agency until at least Wednesday.

According to the league's collective bargaining agreement, player options "must be exercised by July 1 immediately prior to the effective season." Without the paperwork mistake, Carter, 28, would have entered the final year of a three-year, $12 million deal.

"He doesn't have a contract with any team, so he's listed as a free agent," NBA spokesman Mark Broussard said Tuesday.

Carter averaged 4.1 points and 4.1 assists in 49 games with the Heat last season, numbers not consistent with players commanding $4.1 million.

The veteran minimum for 2003-04 is about $689,000. Teams choosing to offer Carter a contract will be required to only offer that, not match the $4.1 million.

Miami is now about $11 million below the salary cap. The free agent signing period begins July 16.

© 2003 The Associated Press

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