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Mavs' Release Leon Smith


Leon Smith, the teen-age basketball star whose emotional and legal troubles have kept him off the court, was waived by the Dallas Mavericks on Friday.

Smith, who signed with the Mavericks on Nov. 2, was placed on the team's suspended list Dec. 6. He became a free agent Tuesday without playing a single game for the Mavericks.

He leaves the team with the assurance he'll receive the $1.45 million guaranteed to him as a first-round draft pick. If another team takes a chance on the 19-year-old forward, they must fulfill the three-year deal Smith signed. If not, the Mavericks will pay it out over 10 years.

Smith, who was raised in a series of group and foster homes in Chicago, refused Dallas' request that he play in a developmental league or go overseas to ease his transition to the NBA. Instead, he signed the day the season began.

But Smith worked out away from his teammates and within two weeks he attempted suicide by swallowing more than 200 aspirin. He has since said he was distraught over a breakup with a girlfriend.

Weeks later, Smith spent a destructive few days in Chicago and was arrested twice within 24 hours. Since then, he has been in and out of psychiatric care.

He moved to Houston last month to work out with players union representative Purvis Short.

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