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The Toronto Raptors are expected to announce today that they have bought out the contract of Alonzo Mourning, the fading National Basketball Association star who came to the team as part of the Vince Carter trade with the New Jersey Nets in December.

Toronto general manager Rob Babcock was on the telephone most of yesterday hammering out details of the agreement, which will clear the way for the 34-year-old centre to sign as a free agent with his former team, the Miami Heat.

Mourning, a seven-time NBA all-star, was included in the Dec. 10 trade with the Nets that also brought Eric Williams and Aaron Williams, along with a couple of draft picks, to Toronto in exchange for Carter.

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Mourning, who is recovering from a kidney transplant, never came to Toronto after the trade and was placed on the team's injured list.

Mourning is still owed more than $17-million (U.S.) on a four-year contract he signed with the Nets in 2003.

It is not known how much the buyout is worth, but it has been reported that the two sides were discussing amounts approaching $10-million (U.S).

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