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Sonics Drop Mustaf After NBA Rejects Waiver Claim

October 5, 1996

SEATTLE (AP) _ For the second time in eight days, Jerrod Mustaf is out of a job.

The Seattle SuperSonics announced Friday that the NBA had ruled the Sonics couldn’t claim Mustaf on waivers because the club is over the salary cap.

Mustaf subsequently cleared waivers and became a free agent but the Sonics decided not to offer him a contract, president and general manager Wally Walker said in a statement.

Mustaf was released by the Phoenix Suns in 1994 during an uproar over the killing of his pregnant ex-girlfriend.

Walker would not respond to a telephone inquiry on whether Mustaf, who has not played since 1994, was released because of continuing concern over his possible role in the killing. He remains under investigation, police said.

Mustaf’s cousin, LeVonnie Wooten of Landover, Md., was sentenced earlier this year in Phoenix for the killing of Althea Hayes, 27, of Glendale, Ariz. She had rejected Mustaf’s request to obtain an abortion. During the trial, lawyers for both sides said the killing was arranged by Mustaf.

Required to appear before the grand jury that indicted Wooten, Mustaf was excused after he invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. He hasn’t been charged.

Mustaf, who played three seasons with the Suns after being acquired from the New York Knicks, was signed by the Charlotte Hornets on Sept. 24 but was released the next day because of negative publicity.

He signed a provisional contract with the Sonics on Monday and worked out with the team until his release, club officials said.

``I’m not here to discuss a criminal investigation, I’m here to play basketball,″ Mustaf said Wednesday. ``I beg you, please allow me to do that. That’s all I ask.″

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